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Full text of "Pioneer Colored Christians"

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BY 



MRS. HARRIET PARKS MILLER 






UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA 



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THE LIBRARY OF THE 

UNIVERSITY OF 

NORTH CAROLINA 




ENDOWED BY THE 

DIALECTIC AND PHILANTHROPIC 

SOCIETIES 



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pioneei^ Colored Ghi^istiang 



BY 



HARRIET PARKS MILLER 



"The primitive order with its picturesque 
types, has passed with the days that are 
dust. The mirthful banjo is mute, and the 
laughter, songs, and shouts of the old plan- 
tation quarters no longer float out on the 
evening air." 



S-30-73 



^^ 



1^ 



M5 



CLARKSVILLE, TENN. 

W. P. TITUS, PRINTER AND BINDER 

— 1911— 



TO THE READER. 



In the busy rush of Hfe, the virtues of single 
individuals too often escape notice, or make but 
slight impression on the minds of their contem- 
poraries. It is in after years, when the actors 
are dead and gone, that their virtues shine forth, 
and speak from the silence, through the pen 
of some one who catches them before it is too 
late. 

No history is richer, or more beautiful, than 
that written of lives led by wisdom, and good- 
ness. 

The writing of this little book is inspired by a 
desire to perpetuate, as examples, the lives of 
such people. While the trend of my thoughts 
will center *t. around one special family, — the 
Carrs — I shall not omit honorable mention of 
other colored citizens, who walked upright among 
their fellow men. 

I shall also make mention of leading white 
people who befriended the colored race in its 
early struggles for religious liberty. 

I write with the hope, that what I say, will 
have a tendency to deepen the sympathy, and 
kind feeling which should ever exist between the 
two races living together in the South. 

The Author. 
Port Royal, Tenn., July, 1911. 



CONTENTS 



Chapter I. 

Interview with Aunt Kitty Carr, September, 
1901, in which she tells of her birth in Virginia, 
1815. 

At six years of age, she was given by her mother 
to Mrs. Edmond Winston, who one year later, 
brought her to Tennessee. Marriage in early life 
to Rev. Horace Carr. 

She was free born; effort to deprive her of her 
birth right. 

By the assistance of kind white friends, she is 
enabled to legally establish her freedom. 

Reading of Prayer Book. 

Chapter II. 

Rev. Horace Carr. 

His birth in Spring Creek neighborhood, in 1812. 

Belonged to Aquilla Johnson, and was sold for 

a division of the estate. Bought by Mr. James 

0^ Carr, of Port Royal, Montgomery county, Tenn. 

^ After master's death, he hires himself from his 

^^ mistress, and locates on a retired spot near "Horse 



Shoe Bend" of Red River, by permission of Mr. 
William Weatherford, its owner. Mode of making 
a living. Joins Red River Church, and is ordained 
to preach. Invitation by Mr. E. L. Fort, to 
preach on his premises. 

Chapter III. 

Worship of the two races together, in ante- 
bellum times. 

Department in white churches for colored wor- 
shippers. 

Civil war brings changes, and they have churches 
and schools of their own. 

Sketch of Dr. P. F. Norfleet, of Port Royal, 
Tenn., who gave land on which to build Mount 
Zion, one of the first colored churches in Middle 
Tennessee. 

Amusing story of Mr. and Mrs. Ed. Hawkins, 
of Turnersville, Robertson county, Tenn. 

Chapter IV. 

Aunt Kitty describes her vision, or dream, in 
which the future Mount Zion appeared to her. 
It takes tangible form, and Rev. Horace Carr 
assembles his people under a large white oak tree 
on the lot donated by Dr. Norfleet, and assisted 
by Revs. Chess Ware, and Ben Thomas, of Guthrie, 
Ky., organizes the church. 
4 



First house of worship soon erected. Too 
small, and later torn away to give place to larger 
building. 

Two buildings burned, but the faithful Chris- 
tians did not lose hope. 

List of charter members. 

Younger generation following the religious foot- 
steps of their ancestors. 

Mr. William Bourne gives lot for burying 
ground. 

Chapter V. 

Rev. Althens Carr. 

Birth and early life. Obtains education under 
great difficulties. 

An eloquent pulpit orator. 

Two funeral sermons heard by the writer. 

William, and Jack Northington, two worthy 
brothers. 

Why Uncle Arter Northington was called 
"Paul'" 

Chapter VI. 

Rev. Horace Carr tells of an antebellum corn 
shucking on Mr. Waters' farm. 

Describes great excitement in Port Royal neigh- 
borhood, the night the stars fell, November, 1833. 

Chapters III. 
Rev. J. W. Carr. 



First work from home, and beginning of his 
education. 

Letter of appreciation to Port Royal friend, a 
short time before his death at Savannah, Georgia, 
August, 1907. 

Statistics showing great progress of the colored 
Baptists of United States, Georgia leading the 
Southern States along this line. 

Chapter VIII. 

Interview with Rev. Luke Fort (col.,) of Guthrie, 
Ky., in w^hich he tells of first sermon he ever heard 
Rev. Horace Carr preach. 

Was the latter 's son-in-law nineteen years. 
Describes a patroler raid on a quiet meeting being 
held one Saturday night on the E. L. Fort plan- 
tation. 

Joe Gaines 'opossum, cooked for the Port Royal 
merchants, turns to a housecat, and he is made 
to eat same. 

History of Benevolent Treasure Society, No. 7. 

Chapter XI. 
Visit to Aunt Eliza Gaines Williams. She 
talks pleasantly of her white people, the Norfleets, 
and Gaines'. 

Describes last visit to Rev. Horace Carr. 
Second visit, for the purpose of taking her picture. 
She was eight} -two, and this was her first picture. 
6 



Dan, and Jerry Fort, aid materially in securing 
Mount Zion Church history. 
Uncle John McGowan. 
His early life. 

Tells of a chicken fry, and what it cost him. 
Describes how he was sold. 
Passing events of his life. 

Chapter X. 

Tribute to the late E. L. Fort. 
History of Port Royal, Tennnessee. 

Chapter XI. 

Passing of four of the most prominent members 
of the Carr family. 

Sketch of Captain C. N. Carney, one of the 
early settlers of Montgomery county. 

Loyalty of his colored people, beginning first, 
with Uncle Isaac, the faithful blacksmith on the 
Carney plantation. 

Rev. Peter Carney (col.), Presbyterian minister, 
and remarkable character. 

Aleck Carney, a useful citizen, and church 
worker. 

Betsy Neblett, his late sister, the "Good Samar- 
itan" of her neighborhood. 

Closing remarks. 



CHAPTER 1. 



THEY HAVE GONE FROM OUR MORTAL VISION, 
BUT IN MEMORIES SWEET, THEY ABIDE WITH US." 



The people whom you will meet in this little 
book did not live in fancy. 

They were humble instruments through whom 
God sent a message clear, and strong, that will 
go on, and on, through the coming years. 

Realizing the rapidity with which the good old 
colored types were passing away, I went one 
September afternoon, 1901, to see Aunt Kitty 
Carr, for the purpose of obtaining some interesting 
facts concerning herself, and her remarkable 
family. 

Her husband, Uncle Horace Carr, had been 
dead twenty-four years, and she was then living 
with her son Horace, at his farm on Red River, 
a mile or two from Port Royal, Tennessee. 

I found her on the back porch peeling peaches 
to dry, and when I made known to her the intent 
of my visit, she was amused, and said, "Lor Miss 




Aunt Kitty Carr. 



Harriet, what am / say, that will be worth read- 
ing in a book?" 

On assuring her of the esteem in which she and 
her family were held, and the importance of such 
lives being left on tangible record, she seemed 
willing to tell me, in her quaint way, what I 
wished to know. 

Aunt Kitty was a small yellow woman, of 
refined features, and dignified bearing. 

She spoke as follows: 

"Of course you have heard that I was free 
born?" 

"Yes," I replied, "you were the first free born 
person of your race, that I ever saw." 

"I was born near Spottssylvania, Virginia, in 
1815. That's been a long time ago. I'll soon 
be eighty-six years old. My children, and grand- 
children are kind to me, and don't want me to 
work, but I am not satisfied to sit idle. 

My father was a Frenchman of some importance, 
by the name of Truell; my only recollection of 
him was his long curly hair that came down to 
his shoulders. My mother was free born, and 
gave me away. 

"One bright spring day she was sweeping her 

front yard, and I, a little girl of six years, was 

taking up the trash, that she swept together, 

when a pretty white girl sixteen, or seventeen, 

9 



rode past the gate, and called for a drink of water. 
As she handed the drinking gourd back, she said, 
'That's a handy little girl you have there, I wish 
you'd give her to me.' 'All right,' mother replied, 
and the lady passed on, and nothing more was 
thought of it, till nearly a year afterward, a nice 
covered wagon drove up to our gate, and the 
same lady called for me. 

"A few days before, she had married a Mr. 
Edmond Winston, and they were going to house- 
keeping. 

"My mother gathered together my little budget 
of clother, and handed little Kitty, and the 
clothes over to the colored driver, saying, 'Here 
take her.' 

"And they took me; I have never thought 
mother acted right. 

"The new married couple lived in Virginia 
about a year after that, when they decided to 
come to Tennessee, and brought me with them. 
We came a long journey, in that same covered 
wagon, and settled in District No. 1 , Montgomery 
county, near where Fortson's Spring now is. 

"They were as kind to me, as they could be, 
and I was content to stay with them. 

"After coming to Tennessee, Mr. Winston did 
not live very long, and his widow, after a respec- 
table time, married a Mr. Coleman, grandfather 
10 



of the first Mrs. Polk Prince, and great grandfather 
of Mrs. Lewis Downer, of Guthrie, Ky. 

"But I was always called Kitty Winston. 
The Colemans and Johnsons were related, and 
through their visiting from Fortson Spring neigh- 
borhood to Spring Creek, farther down toward 
Clarksville, I met my lifetime companion. 

"He was the property of Mr. Aquilla Johnson, 
of Spring Creek, and was first known as Horace 
Johnson. 

"We were married when we were both quite 
young. Soon after our marriage, it was necessary 
to make a division of the property, and Mr. 
Johnson sold my husband to Mr. James Carr, of 
Port Royal, grandfather of Mr. Ed, and Ross 
Bourne. 

We had not been long settled down to quiet, 
peaceable living in our little cabin home, when 
it began to be whispered around among a cruel 
class of white people called overseers, that I could 
be deprived of my free birth right, and made a 
slave. Of course it made me very unhappy, and 
I prayed earnestly over the matter. 

I went to sertain good white friends who had 
known me longest, and laid the case before them, 
and they advised me to go to Esq. Dick Blount, 
of Fortson 's Spring, and he would fix up some 

11 



papers that would establish my freedom for all 
time to come. 

"I put out for the Blount home in haste, my 
husband going with me. When we reached there, 
a member of the Esquire's family told me he was 
drunk, but if I could wait an hour or two, he 
might be sober enough to talk to me. Of course 
I waited. We were seated in the back yard, and 
a quiet couple we were, for it was a solemn time 
in our lives. 

"By, and by, we saw the Esquire came out on 
the back porch, and washed his face. I whispered 
and asked Horace, if he reckoned he was washing 
the drunk off. 

"We walked up to the door, and told our mis- 
sion; Esq. Blount advised us to go on to Clarks- 
ville, and said he would follow on shortly. 

"We waited, and waited, on the Court House 
steps, and I had about decided he was not coming, 
when we looked up the street, and saw him. 

"He took an iron square, and measured my 
height, wrote a description of my features, and 
asked me if there were any scars on my body. I 
knew of none, except a small one the size of a 
silver dime, on the back of my neck, caused from 
the deep burning of a fly blister. I showed him 
that. 

"He kindly fixed up the papers, and handed 

12 



them to me. I kept them closely guarded, till 
my oldest daughter, Mary X^'aters, was going to 
move to the State of Ohio to live, and not knowing 
what might happen to her there, she asked me 
for them, and I willingly gave them to her. I 
always regretted that I did not keep a copy, for 
it would be a curiosity to the present genera- 
tion." 

As she quietly sat, and told me all this, her 
grand daughter, Eleanora Carr Johnson, was an 
attentive listener, never having before, heard such 
details of antebellum history. The afternoon 
seemed too short; so pleasant was the interview 
that I regretted not having gone oftener, to see 
her. She referred incidentally to a little prayer 
book, "Morning and Night Watches," by Rev. 
J. R. McDuff, D. D., from which I had often read 
to her, in days gone by, and expressed a desire to 
hear a certain chapter once more. 

Feeling that she would enjoy hearing it, I had 
carried the little book along with me, and read 
to her as follows: "May it be mine to cheerfully 
follow the footstexjs of the guiding Shepherd 
through the darkest, loneliest road, and amidst 
thickest sorrows may I have grace to say, 'Though 
He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.' " 

"Lord, increase my faith, let it rise above all 
trials, and difficulties. And if they arise, may 

13 



they only drive me closer to Him who has promised 
to make me more than conqueror. I am a pil- 
grim, pitching my tent day, by day, nearer 
heaven, imbibing every day more of the pilgrim 
character, and longing more for the pilgrim's rest. 

"May I be enabled to say, with the chastened 
spirit of a passing world, 'Here I have no con- 
tinuing city.' 

"May this assurance reconcile me to all things- 

"Lord, hasten Thy coming, and Thy kingdom. 

"Scatter the darkness that is hovering over 
heathen nations. 

"Stand by Thy Missionary servants. Enable 
us all, to be living more from day to day, on Thy 
grace, to rely on Thy guiding arm with more 
childlike confidence, looking with a more simple 
faith to Thy finished work. 

"Be the God of all near, and dear to me. 

"May all my ties of blood, scattered far and 
wide over the earth, be able to claim a spiritual 
relationship with Thee, so that those earthly 
bonds of attachment, which sooner or later, must 
snap asunder here, be renewed, and perpetuated 
before the great white throne." 

As I read, she clasped her hands and looked 
reverently upward, as if her soul were drinking 
in the spirit of the great writer. 

She followed me to the front gate, and thanked 
me for my visit. 

It was the last time I ever saw her. 

14 



CHAPTER II. 



MARK THE PERFECT MAN, AND BEHOLD THE 
UPRIGHT, FOR THE END OF THAT MAN IS PEACE." 



Having given my opening chapter to an inter- 
view with Aunt Kitty, I will now tell of her hus- 
band, Rev. Horace Carr, who was born on the 
Aquilla Johnson farm, on Spring Creek, in District 
No. 1, Montgomery county, Tenn., 1812. By 
way of explanation, I will state that white children, 
in antebellum times, were taught by their parents, 
to call middle aged colored people Aunt, and 
Uncle; hence "Aunt Kitty," and "Uncle Horace," 
by the writer. 

From early childhood, Uncle Horace was noted 
for his truth, and honesty. 

In maturer years, strongers who met him on 
the highway, were impressed by his polite manners, 
and upright countenance. 

The late Col. Jno. F. House, of Clarksville, once 
said of him, that he had the dignified bearing of 
African royalty. 

15 



He was married during the early 30 's, and was 
often heard to say, that God never sent him a 
greater blessing than Kitty Winston. 

It will be remembered that the offspring of a 
free born parent, either mother, or father, was 
also free, and after several sons, and daughters 
were given to Aunt Kitty, and Uncle Horace, 
they desired to be in a home of their own; Mrs. 
Carr having become a widow, she was adminis- 
tratrix of a very nice little estate, and Uncle 
Horace was one of her most valuable slaves, and 
when it was talked around that he wished to hire 
himself from his mistress, ver)^ few believed that 
she would consent for him to leave the prem- 
ises. 

He first talked to influential citizens of his 
neighborhood, as to the possibility of securing 
a suitable location for his humble home, and 
Dr. P. F. Norfleet, of Port Royal, promised to 
use his influence in that direction. 

So he sent to Mr. William W^eatherford, owner 
of a fine farm on Red River, in sight of Port Royal, 
and laid the case before him. 

In the meantime. Uncle Horace summoned up 
courage enough to propose hiring himself from 
Miss Nancy, as he called Mrs. Carr, for the sum 
of $200.00, to which she consented. 

Mr. Weatherford kindly granted the homestead 

16 




Cabin (Aunt Judy's House) on the old Fort Plantation, 

in which Rev. Horace Carr preached 

his first sertnon. 



site, nc^nr a secluded place on his plantation, known 
as "Horse Shoe Bend." 

A small log house was soon erected, and the 
Carr family, with their scant belongings went to 
dw^ell therein. 

And now the problem of making a living con- 
fronted them. 

How was it to be done? 

"We will work, and save, and trust in the 
Lord," Uncle Horace would say- 

And they did. 

He made boards, bottomed chairs, did crude 
carpentering, and kept the ferry on Red River, 
at Port Royal, during the high water season, 
while his industrious little wife spun, wove, sold 
ginger sakes to the village groceries; no\^^ and 
then, accompanying the stork on its grand mission 
of leaving rosebud baby girls, and boys in the 
homes of families, where she remained a week or 
two, with their mothers, in the capacity of a 
tender and experienced nurse. 

There are many mature men and women in 
our midst today, who first opened their baby eyes 
under Aunt Kitty's watch-care. 

She and Uncle Horace were economical, and 
usually saved fifty, or seventy-five dollars, above 
his promised wages to Mrs. Carr. 

On Christmas eve morning, of each year, after 
17 



moving to their home near Horse Shoe Bend, he 
would wend his way quietly back to the old Carr 
homestead, with his well earned $200.00 for Miss 
Nancy, who always felt safe in making her Christ- 
mas purchases a week or two ahead of the holiday 
season, knowing he would be true to his promise. 
And she always had a present for his family, often 
a pig, with some corn to feed it. 

People of that date, were practical, in their 
present making, at Christmas time. Uncle Horace 
professed religion when quite young, during a 
revivial at Red River Church, under the ministry 
of Elder Reuben Ross, a distinguished pioneer 
Bapitst who came from North Carolina, to Ten- 
nessee, over a century ago. 

After his profession, he felt a great desire to 
preach, and as the years passed, the desire grew 
stronger, till he felt convinced that he was Divinely 
called. So about ten years before the Civil War, 
he was ordained to preach. 

His ordination took place in Red River Church, 
the primitive building on the hillside, a mile or 
two north west of Adams, Revs. F. C. Plaster, 
and W. G. Adams, officiating. 

There was a large congregation present, and 
the ceremony was said to have been a very impres- 
sive one. 

Mr. Lawson Fort was present and took great 

18 



interest in the proceedings, and followed Uncle 
Horace out on the church grounds and said to 
him: 

"Horace, I am a Baptist preacher's son, but 
I do not belong to any church, though I have 
great respect for religious people. 

"I want to say to you, whenever you feel like 
preaching, or holding a prayer meeting, come to 
my house, and feel welcome, and I will see to it 
that you are not disturbed by patrolers. 

"You will understand, Horace, that my negroes 
are first-class, and I don't care to have a mixed 
crowd on my premises at night. I guess your 
little family, and my thirty or forty, will give you 
a pretty fair congregation. It will be best to 
hold your meetings in Judy's house, as she has 
no small children. 

"She has her Indigo dye-pots setting around 
in every corner, but I guess she can move them 
out. 

"Judy prays, Margaret shouts, and John exhorts, 
so it seems, that among them all, you might get 
up some pretty good meetings." 

"May the Lord abundantly bless you. Mars 
Lawson, for such kindness to a race striving under 
difficulties, to serve God," Uncle Horace replied. 

Prior to this, he had only held religious services 
in his own home, but the invitation from Mr. 
19- 



Fort gave him fresh courage, and he retired that 
night with thankfulness in his heart, and a firm 
resolve to live up to the Divine light that had 
been given him. 

Of the two ministers who assisted in Uncle 
Horace's ordination, I will speak briefly. 

Rev. W. S. Adams was the eldest son of Reuben 
Adams; the latter came to Tennessee from North 
Carolina in 1812, and settled on the bank of Red 
River in Robertson county, near where the first 
old Red River Church building stood. 

He was a penniless orphan boy, but by industry, 
and economy, was soon able to buy a small farm. 
Land at that date, was very cheap. 

He was married early in life, to Miss Priscilla 
Robinson, who made him a pleasant companion. 

In the early 50 's, the Edgefield and Kentucky 
Railroad Co. had civil engineers to blaze the path 
for the first railroad that ran through this section. 

A depot was built, and the little station called 
Adams, in honor of Mr. Reuben Adams. On 
account of this railroad passing through his 
premises, the value of his land was greatly in- 
creased, and from that time on, he was able to 
assist his children financially. 

Growing up while his father was poor, Rev. 
William Adams had but few educational advant- 
ages. He professed religion in his youth, and 
20 



was often heard to remark, that most he knew 
of the Bible, was learned in Sunday school. 

He was twice married, the first time to Miss 
Batts, of Robertson comity, and second, to Miss 
Kosure, of Madisonville, Ky. Eight or nine 
children by his first marriage are all dead, while 
two by his second, also an aged wife, survive him^ 
and live in Texas. 

Rev. Adams spent thirty odd years in the 
ministry. In the early 80's he moved from 
Robertson county to Nashville. 

One morning he rose early, and remarked to 
his wife, that he felt unusually well, and wished 
to put in a good day's work among the afflicted 
of the neighborhood, and spoke of first visiting 
Mrs. Jones across the street from his home (nee 
Miss Lizzie Frey) , who had been one of his favorite 
members of Little Hope Church, in Montgomery 
county. 

Soon after breakfast, he stood before a mirror 
in the family room shaving, when his wife sitting 
near, noticed him turn suddenly pale, and stagger. 
She assisted him to a chair, and he died almost 
instantly, from heart failure. 

Rev. F. C. Plaster, was born in Logan county, 
Ky., 1805. He was of humble parentage, and 
like Rev. Adams, had no educational advantages. 

At sixteen years of age, he joined Red River 

21 



Church, and at twenty, he felt the Divine call 
to preach, and so zealous was he, that it was said 
of him, that while plaining lumber at the car- 
penter's bench, he kept his open Bible before 
him, studying the Scriptures while he worked. 

He was a man of commanding appearance, and 
a fine pulpit orator. He was tw4ce married, and 
was the father of several sons, and daughters, by 
his first marriage. Both of his wives were Ken- 
tuckians, and most estimable women. In 1879, 
he moved with his family to Fort Deposit, Ala., 
and from there, a few years later, he passed from 
earth. 



22 



CHAPTER III. 



IN TRAVELING FROM THIS WORLD TO THE NEXT, 
THE ROAD IS NO WIFER FOR THE PRINCE, THAN 

THE PEASANT." — San.no Panza. 



In that period of our country's history known 
as "slave time," the white people encouraged the 
colored race to serve God, and received its con- 
verts into their own churches, and worshipped 
with them. 

In most of the meeting houses, there were 
galleries, or separate apartments, in which the 
colored members sat, and listened to the Gospel 
preached by white ministers. 

Their membership was received into the Baptist 
Associations, on equal terms, and the colored 
ministers often preached during the several days 
sessions of these assemblies. Elder Horace Carr 
did, when the Association was held at Red River 
Church. 

Speaking of the separate apartments in the 
churches, the writer has a vivid recollection of the 
23 



orderly colored congregation that occupied the 
upper gallery of old Harmony Church, three miles 
south of Port Royal, in Robertson county. 

Near the front, could be seen such devout 
Christians as old Uncle Allen Northington, Aunt 
Sydney Norfleet, Aunt Sylvia Carney, Aunt Lucy 
Parks, Aunt Becky Northington, Aunt Cely North- 
ington, etc. It was a rare occurrence that a 
colored child was seen at church, but you would 
notice numerous white children sitting in the 
laps of their good old "Black Mamm3^s" as they 
called them. But while this Christian brother- 
hood was being enjoyed, another day was dawn- 
ing, in which a new order of things was to take 
place. The primitive order, with its picturesque 
types, was doomed to pass away. The broad 
plantation of the old Southern planter was to 
undergo material changes, and every influence for 
good was becoming more and more in unison with 
the great master chord of Christianity. 

Surely the hand of Divinity was in it all, or it 
would not have been so. 

The Civil War came on, and the Institution of 
Slavery was abolished. 

It was not only Aunt Kitty Carr, Uncle Gran- 
ville Wimberly, and a few others, that were 
referred to, as "free born," but all were free! 

The desire for schools and churches of their 

2i 









-liiiSi, 1 ,.; _ ii'.j""''^^8'".". >•> i^Jlb^^ J< iM^^^B 



'Riverside;" home of the late E. L. Fort. 



own was awakened, and the right kind of white 
people were ready, and willing, to lend them a 
helping hand. Among the first to lead substan- 
tially in this direction, in Montgomery county, 
was Dr. P. F. Norfleet, of Port Royal. 

Brief sketch of this fine old gentleman: Dr. 
Philip Ford Norfleet was born in the early part 
of the past century, at his father's homestead on 
the Nashville road, one and a half miles south of 
Port Royal. In later years the place was known 
as the Dr. J. T. Darden farm. 

In his early twenties he was sent to a medical 
college, and was later on considered one of the 
best physicians of his day. 

He was a charter member of Harmony Mis- 
sionary Baptist Church, organized in 1835, and 
while it was said of him, that he sowed his share 
of wild oats in early life, after joining the church 
he doubled his diligence in good works. 

He was married during his twenties, to Miss 
Elvira Hopson, and several children blessed their 
union. 

He was a man of wealth, owning a large cotton 
plantation near Friar's Point, Mississippi, to which 
he made annual trips on horseback, usually at 
crop selling time, and returning with vast sums 
of money. 

Not caring to risk the health of his large and 
25 



happy family, in the malarial districts of the 
Mississippi swamps, he made his home at Port 
Royal. 

The original Norfleet residence, with few excep- 
tions, remains intact, and is at present owned and 
occupied by Mr. W. E. Alley, a prosperous farmer, 
and substantial citizen of Montgomery county. 

For the benefit of his family. Dr. Norfleet kept 
a number of efficient servants. 

Among them two very refined house maids, 
Kitty Hopson and Adeline Norfleet; Frank, the 
carriage driver; Mary, the cook, and Louis, a 
roustabout. 

Of these, only one survive, Adeline, who in 
her old age, finds no greater pleasure than in 
talking of her white people. 

Although the Norfleets were the acknowledged 
aristocrats of the country, they were also benevo- 
lent to a marked degree. 

Apropos of their liberality, I deem it not amiss 
to mention the case of Ed and Fronie Hawkins, 
a very unique, feeble minded couple of white 
people, who lived in a small one-room log cabin, 
near Turners ville, in Robertson county, and sub- 
sisted mainly on charity. 

Mr. Hawkins, familiarly known as "Old Ed," 
was a tall, lank figure, with a shock of long sandy 
hair, that hung in strings around his neck, while 
26 



his sallow complexion and deep set small blue 
eyes, completed the make-up of an unattractive 
personality. 

Fronie, his dumpy dame, in point of height, 
measured very little above her husband's slender 
waist. She had small brown eyes, fair com- 
plexion, and an abundant suit of coarse red hair, 
which she wore in a massive club, or coil, at the 
nape of her neck, held in place by a rusty horn 
tuck comb. 

About three times a year, they made begging 
trips to Port Royal, Dr. Norfleet's home being 
their objective point. 

Fronie would generally start a few days in 
advance of her husband, in order to get her charity 
donations together. 

He would follow later, and help carry them 
home. 

Dr. Norfleet wore white linen suits in summer^ 
and on one occasion, gave Fronie a second hand 
suit for Ed. 

Dr. Norfleet was tall, and his pants legs were 
long, so she conceived the idea of packing her 
donations in the legs of those he had given her. 
She sewed up the legs at the bottom, put a stout 
loop on the back of the binding at the top, and 
hung her improvised receptacle on a hook behind 
the office door; everything that was given to her, 

27 



she dropped it down the pants legs — sugar, 
coffee, second-hand clothes, chunks of meet, etc., 
all in a jumble. 

When they were well nigh full, she began to 
wish for Mr. Hawkins. He came at last, and she 
led him to look behind the door. 

He was delighted, and scarcely taking time to 
rest from his journey of six miles on a warm day, 
he placed the well stuffed pants astride his neck, 
and struck out up the Nashville road, without 
even bidding Dr. Norfleet's family good bye. 

Fronie followed close at his heels, holding by 
the legs, in her right hand, a fine fat pair of Mus- 
covy ducks, Mrs. Norfleet had given her. On 
passing Mr. William Brown's residence, just up 
the road, Mr. Brown's son, Robert, happened to 
be at the front gate; young Robert Bourne had 
a keen sense of humor, and their ludicious appear- 
ance threw him into such a fit of laughter that 
he rolled over and. over on the ground. 

But the Hawkins's kept straight ahead, bound 
for Turners vi lie before sunset, but they were 
doomed to an unexpected delay. 

The ducks grew heavy, and Fronie set them 
down by the roadside to rest her tired arm. 

It happened that she stopped at the head of 
the ten-foot deep gully, just beyond the old 
Mallory homestead, where the old Harmony 
28 



Church road branched off to the right from the 
niain Nashville route. The ducks set to fluttering, 
and tumbled down the embankment and into the 
gully, breaking the string that held them together. 
Ed flew into a rage, because she let, them get 
away, and swore he'd whip her on the spot, if 
she did not catch them. She chased them up 
and dowm the gully till she was almost exhausted, 
when a passing fishing party came to her assist- 
ance. 

The late George Washington's family con- 
tributed liberally to the support of this couple, 
and in speaking of the Washington home, Fronie 
always referred to it as "the fat house," meaning 
rich people. 

The young people of Port Royal neighborhood, 
spent many pleasant times in years gone by, 
masquerading in comic costumes, as Ed and 
Fronie Hawkins. 

They were known far and wide, as a very 
amusing couple, but when old age came to them, 
and the liberal friends who had kept "the wolf 
from their cabin door" had passed away, it 
became necessary for them to be carried to the 
county poor house, and from there, I'm sure, their 
innocent souls went straight to heaven. 



29 



CHAPTER IV. 



WHO OF US CAN SAY, WHICH IS FAIRER, THE 
VISIONS OF HOPE, OR MEMORY'' THE ONE MAKES 
ALL THINGS POSSIBLE, THE OTHER MAKES ALL 
THINGS REAL." 



In the holy hush of that September afternoon, 
Aunt Kitty told me of a vision that she had, during 
the middle 60's. 

It was my last talk with her, and she seemed 
SO impressed with the memory of it, that she laid 
aside her peach peeling, and gave her mind, and 
soul, to the subject so dear to her heart. 

She said: "Some people call them dreams, but 
I call them visions. Ever since God spoke peace 
to my soul, I had prayed for religious liberty for 
my people; so great was my desire in this par- 
ticular direction, that it seemed as a heavy 
weight that was bowing me down. 

"But one night, about midnight, the burden 
seemed to be lifted from me. The deep darkness 
drifted away, and it seemed that the sun shone 
30 



everywhere, and in a certain direction, I saw a 
long grassy slope stretch far away before me. 

"I could not tell at first, what it meant, for I 
saw nothing but space. By and by, a small 
tab.e appeared, and seemed to come nearer and 
nearer. 

"I looked away, and wondered, and then I 
looked again, and a Bib't was on the table. 

"The third time I cast my eyes, lo and behold! 
there stood my old man behind the table, the 
Bible was open, and he was slowly reading from 
its sacred pages! 

"Miss Harriet, this may all sound very strange 
to you, but that vision was as plain to me, as the 
sight of you, sitting here before me. 

"The old man had been working away from 
home all the week, so I got up next morning and 
went about my daily duties without telling my 
children what I had seen. 

"Saturday night he came home, and after hold- 
ing family prayers, and everything was quiet 
about the house, I told him of my vision — and 
listen, oh, it was joy to my soul! He told me 
that Dr. Norfleet wanted us to have a place of 
worship, and that he was willing to give us land 
on which to build a church, about an acre, on 
the hillside, between Mr. Bourne's spring and 
Sulphur Fork Creek. And he said that many 

31 



other white friends would give lumber, and small 
sums of money. 

"Miss Harriet, we re^oiced together that Satur- 
day night, as we never had before. We had 
been reaching our feeble arms toward Heaven a 
long time, pleading for the blessing that was now 
in sight." 

Thirty odd years had passed, and a new genera- 
tion had come, but the flight of time only served 
to sweeten the sound of her story. As I bade 
her good bye, I was deeply conscious that I would 
never see her again, for she was growing too 
feeble to leave home, and I drove off, feeling 
spiritually benefitted from contact with such a 
Christian character as Aunt Kitty Carr. 

One Autumn afternoon in ISO?, a large crowd 
of the best colored people of Port Royal and 
surrounding neighborhoods, assembled on the hill- 
side where Mount Zion now stands, and organized 
the church. 

Elder Horace Carr was assisted in the organiza- 
tion by Revs. Chess Ware and Ben Thomas, of 
Guthrie, Ky. Elder Carr stood under a large 
white, oak tree, and led in the movement, while 
his hearers sat around on rails, logs, stumps, etc. 

It was a movement destined to mean much to 
the colored people of Robertson "and Montgomery 

32 



^^J/^^^^fl' 





Mount Zioii, Colored Baptist Church, near 
Port Roval. Tennessee. 



counties. Located as it was, near the county 
line, its membership was composed largely of 
both counties, but since then, other churches have 
sprung up, and many of the Mount Zion members 
joined those nearer their homes. 

Alfred Pitt (col.) took the contract for building 
the first house of worship. It was 30x30 feet, 
and erected in a very short time. 

Most of the white citizens of the neighborhood 
contributed either lumber or small amounts of 
money, and when the crude little building appeared 
on the hillside, all eyes turned to Uncle Horace, 
as the good shepherd to lead the little flock of 
seventy odd miembers. 

This first church building, was also used for a 
school-room, in which was taught one of the first 
colored schools in Middle Tennessee, during what 
was termed the "Reconstruction Period;" in 
other words, the years immediately following the 
Civil War, when both races were adjusting them- 
selves to the changed conditions brought about 
by the emancipation of the slaves. 

This school was taught by Miss Denie Sims, a 
nice, refined young woman from Clarksville, Tenn., 
who conducted not only herself, but her school, 
so well, that she was highly esteemed by both 
white and colored people of Port Royal neigh- 
borhood. 



The first building being too small to accommo- 
date the congregations that rapidly increased in 
numbers, it was torn away after standing two or 
three years, and replaced by one of 36x40 feet. 

This stood five years, and was burned at night 
by unknown parties. Circumstantial evidence 
pointed strongly to certain people, but there was 
no positive proof. 

After the excitement, incident to such an 
occurrence, had subsided, Uncle Horace gathered 
together a portion of his little flock, and cautioned 
them to say no harsh words, that all would be 
well, for he felt that the good people who had 
assisted them before, would do so again, and they 
would rebuild. They rebuilt on the same founda- 
tion, and all went right for a few years, or, until 
a band of colored gamblers became a menace to 
law, and order. So bold did they grow in their 
wickedness, that one night they actually gambled 
in front of the church door, from the same light 
that guided the good minister in reading the 
Gospel from the sacred desk! 

It was more than the Christian congregation 
could stand, and strenuous measures were taken 
against the offenders. 

That same week Mount Zion again went up in 
flames, but faith, and persistency', are Life's 
architects, and the fourth building was erected, 

34 



and there it stands today, a monument to the 
courage of a faithful few. 

For the benefit of those who would hke to know 
the charter members of Mount Zion Church, I 
give below a list of their names; true it is, a few 
may have been overlooked, but in the main, they 
are as follows: 



Sydney Allen. 
Rev. Horace Carr. 
Kitty Carr. 
Horace Carr, Jr. 
Rev. Althens Carr. 
Lucinda Carney. 
Sylvia Came}'. 
Easter Carney. 
Isaac Carney. 
Aleck Carney. 
Ann Dunn. 
Judy Fort. 
Margaret Fort. 
Charlotte Fort. 
Katie Fort. 
George Francis Fort. 
Jim Fort. 
Peggy Fort. 
Rev. John Fort. 
Daniel Fort. 
Sampson Fort. 



Henry Fort. 
Frank Fort. 
Sarah Grant. 
John Grant. 
Bear John Grant. 
Nelson Grant. 
Vinie Grant. 
Wallace Gaines. 
Maria Gaines. 
Phil Gaines. 
Dennis Gaines. 
Martha Gaines. 
Clarissa Gaines. 
Malachi Gaines. 
Eliza Gaines. 
Eliza Holmes. 
Waddy Herring. 
Sallie Ann Herring. 
Rachel Izor. 
Sam Izor. 
Mark Mitchell. 

35 



Patsy McGowan. 
John McGowan. 
Martha Newton. 
Sookey Northington. 
Vinie Northington. 
CaroUne Northington. 
William Northington. 
Jack Northington. 
Angelina Northington. 
Seely Northington. 
Chaney Northington. 
Elijah Northington. 
Louisanna Northington. 
Bettie Northington. 
With few exceptions, 



Dennis Northington. 
Rebekah Northington. 
Allen Northington. 
Neptune Northington. 
George Northington. 
Sam Northington. 
Almira Northington. 
Betsy Neblett. 
Kitty Norfleet. 
Adeline Norfleet. 
Rildy Polk. 
Lucy Parks. 
Demps Wimberly. 
Delphi W^aters. 
nearly all of the above 



charter members had been m^embers of Red River 
and Harmony churches before the Civil War. 
Scarcely a dozen of them remain with us in the 
flesh. 

During its forty-four years' existence, Mount 
Zion has had the following pastors: 

Rev. Horace Carr. 

Rev. Altheus Carr. 

Rev. Edmond Northington 

Rev. Paul Dennis. 

Rev. George Mimms. 

Rev. Turner Parish. 

Rev. M. Fox. 



36 



Rev. L. Jones. 
Rev. A. J. Moore, D. D. 
Of the original Deacons, only one is alive, Aleck 
Carney, the other six in active service are: 
Dan Fort. 
George Fort. 
Demps Fort. 
Albert Steward. 
Wright Watkins. 
Will Randolph. 
It is a noticeable fact, that the second and 
third generations of some of Mount Zion's charter 
members, are at present among its best workers; 
as for example. Rev. John Fort's son Dan, and 
grandson George, upon whose shoulders a father's 
religious mantle has fallen. 

Soon after the donation of land by Dr. Norfleet 
for Mount Zion Church, Mr. William Bourne, on 
an adjoining farm, gave land for a colored ceme- 
tery. 

Mr. Bourne was a citizen of fine standing. He 
was the son of Ambrose Bourne, a prominent 
pioneer Baptist minister. 

By strange coincidence. Rev. Ambrose Bourne 
helped organize Red River Church, 1791, within 
a few hundred yards of where Mount Zion now 
stands. 

Red River is one of the oldest Baptist churches 

87 



in Tennessee, and the Bourne Spring at that date, 
was called Prince's Spring, and the little log 
church building was known as Prince's meeting 
house. After its removal to Robertson county 
it took its name from its nearness to Red River. 
In the early days most of the churches took their 
names from the streams nearest which they were 
located, as Spring Creek, West Fork, Red River, 
etc. Rev. Horace Carr named the church he 
loved so well, from the New Testament. Hebrews 
12: 22, in which Moses said, "But ye are come 
unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living 
God, the heavenly Jerusalem." etc. 



38 



CHAPTER V. 



THE MAN WHO SPEAKS, MAY, IF HIS MESSAGE 
IS GREAT ENOUGH, AND GREATLY DELIVERED, RANK 
ABOVE THE RULERS OF HIS TIME." 



It seems that a love for the ministry, was 
inherent in the Carr family, and it is also a notice- 
able fact, that few, if any of them, have departed 
from the Baptist faith; beginning with Uncle 
Horace, and descending to his two sons, Altheus 
and William, on down to his grandson. Rev. 
Thomas Carr, of Kansas, son of the late Calvin 
Carr, of Cheatham county. 

Altheus, the fourth son of Uncle Horace, and 
Aunt Kitty, was born near Port Royal, Tenn., in 
the early SO's. He was obedient to his parents 
from his early childhood. 

While a day laborer on the farms around Port 
Royal, he manifested a thirst for knowledge, and 
while his plow team rested their noon hours rest, 
he was not idle. He could be seen lying around 

39 



under the shade trees, either with a book in his 
hand or a pencil and paper. 

By saving his wages, and receiving financial 
aid from friends, he was enabled to take a theo- 
logical course at Fisk's University, Nashville, 
Tenn. 

He was a negro of commanding appearance, 
and polite address, and after the death of his 
father, September, 1877, he was pastor of Mount 
Zion Church continuously for nine years. In his 
early twenties he was married to Miss Lou Gaines, 
daughter of Aunt Eliza Gaines, of whom I shall 
speak later. 

After his marriage, he purchased five acres of 
land adjoining the Mount Zion lot, on which he 
built a comfortable three room cottage. It was 
here that he and his thrifty wife raised a large 
and interesting family of seven daughters, all of 
whom died young. 

In his cottage he had his private study, in which 
he prepared some very able sermons, and after 
he thought he had his subjects well in hand, he 
often went to a valley near his home, on Sulphur 
Fork Creek, and delivered them, with the fine old 
elms and sycamores his silent listeners. 

His funeral orations were hard to beat, several 
of which I had the pleasure of hearing. The first 
being that of William Northington, the trusted 
40 



foreman for years on Miss Ellen Yates' farm. 
William was highly esteemed as a colored citizen 
of the community, and Miss Ellen sent out for 
her white friends to attend his funeral. They 
occupied seats on the back porch, while the 
colored congregation sat under the shade of the 
tall locust trees, and listened with rapt attention. 
After taking his text, and making a few appro- 
priate introductory remarks, he quoted effectively 
from Longfellow's Psalm of Life: 

"Art is long, and time is fleeting, 

And our hearts, though stout and brave, 
Still, like muffled drums are beating 
Funeral marches to the grave." 

William and Jack Northington were brothers, 
owned by Mr. Henry Northington, one of the 
pioneer settlers of Middle Tennessee. 

Mr. Northington was a large slave owner, and 
not needing William and Jack on his farm, he 
kept them hired out. 

After they were freed, they said, "We will go 
back to the old home, and help take care of Mars 
Henry the remainder of his days," and they did. 
Mr. Northington died June, 1877, but they still 
stayed on the old plantation, working as long as 
they lived for Miss EUe'n Yates, Mr. Northington's 
adopted niece. 

41 



Two summers later, August, 1883, I heard him 
preach the funeral of Aunt Lucy Parks North- 
ington. For several years before her death, Aunt 
Lucy had cooked for Mrs. Lawson Fort. She had 
been a faithrul servant in the Dancy, Parks, and 
Fort families all her life, originally belonging to 
William E. Dancy, of Florence, Ala. 

She was beloved by her white people, who ten- 
derly cared for her during the last two years of 
her life, in which she was unable to work. And 
when the last sad rites were to be paid her remains, 
her casket was placed on the front gallery of the 
pretty Fort home; white friends sat in the parlor 
and sitting room; the colored congregation occu- 
pied seats leading from the steps to the front 
gate. As Rev. Altheus Carr stood at the head 
of the casket, and 'neath the shadows of the 
imposing columns of that old colonial home, it 
was a scene to touch the tendercst chord of a 
Southern heart. On the casket was a wreath of 
vSpider lillies, that grew in a valley near the cabin 
home of the deceased, when she lived at the old 
Parks homestead near Port Royal. Every sum- 
mer, for years, she had admired that lily bed at 
blooming time, and the writer remembered it. 

He took for his text, "Well done good and 
faithful servant," etc., and started out by saying: 
"The nearness of this casket to the mansion door, 

42 



and the pure white liUies that shed their fragrance 
over the heart that is forever still, attest the truth 
of my text. Yes my hearers, this means some- 
thing. It speaks appreciation of a life, whose 
ending deserves more than a passing notice. 

"Sister Lucy Parks Northington was sixty-one 
years of age, and forty-one years of this long 
span of life were spent in the Master's vineyard. 

"She was a quiet worker, caring not for the 
praise of the world, but striving always to perform 
duties pleasing to the eye of Him who seeth in 
secret places. 

"Too well I know, that my feeble words can do 
but scant justice to the life of such a departed 
sister, but I feel like we should hold high the light 
of such lives, that others may follow their bright- 
ness. 

"My mother was often with Sister Lucy during 
her last days; they sang and prayed together, 
and she left every evidence that she was ready for 
the kingdom. 

"Her last night on earth, she said to the friends 
keeping watch, 'Sing to me, sing the good old 
songs of Zion.' No doubt, but she, like the saints 
of old, wanted music to charm her last on earth, 
and greet her first in heaven. 

"We shall miss her at the church she loved so 
well, but she has left her light on its altars, and 

i3 



if we would see her again, let us find her footprints, 
and follow them. They have not been blotted 
out. We will find them leading from her doorway 
to those of affliction, to the church door, or wher- 
ever her gentle spirit was needed. 

"This quiet Summer's evening we will lay her 
tired body to rest on the hillside overlooking Red 
River; time for her is no more, but a home not 
made with hands, is hers to enjoy, though an 
endless Eternity." 

The service was concluded with a song and 
prayer, after which the orderly funeral procession 
passed up the lane, and on down to the colored 
graveyard, where so many of the Fort colored 
people have been laid to rest. 

There was a certain dignity and refinement 
about Rev. Altheus Carr that was noticeable, and 
which he manifested on occasions when white 
people attended his services. 

As for instance, at the large baptizings which 
followed his successful revivals, when the good 
singing was especially inspiring, several emotional 
members of his church were in the habit of shout- 
ing, and at times, they were noisy in their demon- 
strations. When he realized that they had reached 
a limit, he usually in an undertone, spoke some 
kind word of admonition. 

Often they understood a gesture from him, and 
44 



all would be quiet. He wielded a subtle influence 
over his people that was rennarkable. 

It is a fact worthy of mention, that only one 
member was publicly known to rebel at the new 
rules set up in Mount Zion church after his became 
its pastor. 

His father, during his nine years charge of the 
church, had accepted for his services only what 
the members saw fit to pay him. His idea being 
that God did not intend for a price to be set on 
the preaching of the Gospel. 

Neither did he advocate, or allow, church sup- 
pers as a means of raising funds for religious 
purposes. 

But the world moves, and church conditions 
forced his successors to adopt new methods. 

Altheus being the first to follow his father, was 
forced to have systematic means of raising church 
money, by assessing the members according to 
their supposed financial ability. Uncle Arter 
Northington, a reasonably prosperous colored 
tenant living on Mr. Felix Northington 's premises, 
was assessed $2.00. 

He thought it was too much, and appealed to 
his employer, in whose sense of right and justice 
he had great confidence. The latter told him he 
thought fifty cents would be enough. 

When the contribution box was handed round 

45 



on the next collection day, Uncle Arter dropped 
in his fifty cents. After preaching was over, 
Rev. Carr approached him privately, and quoted 
appropriately from Paul regarding certain reli- 
gious obligations. 

Uncle Arter was very black, very positive, and 
talked through his nose. Straightening himself 
up, he spoke defiantly, and said: "Brer Carr, I 
keers nothin' ' tall 'bout what Paul said. Mars 
Felix is smart enough for me ter go by, an he says 
fifty cents is plenty fer me ter pay, an that's all 
I'm gwine ter pay." 

The incident was related at the village store, 
and in a spirit of amusement some one exclaimed, 
"Hurrah for Paul!" and from that time on, till 
his death, twenty-five or thirty years afterwards. 
Uncle Arter was known far and wide as "Paul." 



46 



CHAPTER VI. 

"he had an ear that caught, and a memory 
that kept." 



Uncle Horace was spending several days in 
our neighborhood, filling a whitewashing contract. 
Red River was past fording; he worked till late, 
and did not wish to risk the ferry after dark, so 
he "took time about," as he called it, staying 
among the neighbors at night. 

The night he spent on my father's premises, 1 
went after supper to Aunt Lucy's house in the 
back yard, and asked him to tell me of a corn 
shucking before the war. He drew his chair up 
near the door, and began as follows: 

"I think about the biggest corn shucking I ever 
went to was on Mr. Waters' farm, between Mr. 
Billie Weatherford's and Mr. John Powers'. Mr. 
Waters was a prosperous farmer, and a mighty 
fine man with it. 

"It was about the last of November, and the 
com was piled high in a lot back of the house. 
47 



I would suppose there were about fifty hands 
invited, white and colored. They went to work, 
and they worked, too, I tell you. 

"Old gray headed men were invited, not to 
work, mind you, but to sit off to themselves and 
talk over good old times. 

"The night was cool, and frosty, and a log fire 
was built for their benefit. What we called the 
best men of the county were there. Mr. Hatcher, 
Mr. Hiter, Mr. Wilcox, Mr. Thomas Shaw, Mr. 
John Powers, and Mr. Patrick McGowan. I 
remember Mr. McGowan and Mr. Shaw seemed 
to be particular friends. They came together and 
went away together. 

Mr. McGowan owned a yellow man named" 
John, and he could beat anybody there shucking 
corn; he could also find more red ears than any- 
body else, and would laugh the merriest laughs 
when he found them, for a red ear meant an extra 
dram, you know. Some of the hands accused 
him of bringing along a few from Mr. McGowan 's 
corn crib, but 1 hardly think that was true, for 
when it came to honesty, John was as straight 
as a shingle. 

"Charles, Mr. Waters' wagoner, was the heap 
walker that night. Always at corn shuckings 
they picked out somebody with a clear, good 
voice to sing, and made them the heap walker. 

48 



He walked over and around the com heap, and 
sang the com song. Somehow, the hands seemed 
to forget they worked, when they sang, the time 
passed so pleasantly. 

"Charles was what they called a quick witted 
smart fellow, and he could fit into his songs some 
of the funny sayings of the neighborhood, and 
make the people laugh amazingly. He would 
sing the verses alone, and the crowd would join 
in the chorus. The com song went like this: 

"Ginn erway de corn boys, ginn erway de com. 
Done come here ternight, fer ter ginn erway de 

com. ' 

Com, cor-n, cor-n, cor-n, com fer de 
Bell cow, com fer de mule. 
Ash cake fer de yaller gal, 
Dat make you all er fool. 
Corn, corn, com, dear old Marser's corn.' 

"Then the chorus went: 

'Cor-n, cor-n, ginn erway de corn, 
Gwine ter shuck it all dis night, 
As sho's yer bor-n, bor-n.' 
"And bless your life, they were happy times, 
those good old corn shucking days before the 
war! Along about midnight, they changed up 
from the corn song to the dram song, and when 
that started up, the boys worked like steam 
48 



Engines. As well as I can remember, here's the 
way the dram song went : 

'Dram, dram, little drop er dram sir, 
Dram, dram, fetch erlong de dram. 
Come, come, little Mister Whiskey, 
Nigger mighty thirsty, wants er little dram.' 



"When the corn pile was finished up, Mr. Waters 
took off his hat, made a polite bow, and thanked 
the hands for their good work. 

"Then he said: 'I'll give you something to warm 
up your throats,' and hands the big jug around; 
but he had good judgment, and would not give 
them enough to make them drunk. When the 
last one had taken his dram, John McGowan, that 
same active yellow man, and one of the Sale 
colored boys, caught Mr. Waters up on their 
shoulders, and away they went to the house with 
him, the hands following behind, singing thecorn 
song. They set him down on the front door 
steps. 

Mrs. Waters was out in the hall, and said she 
had not laughed as much sidce Christmas. We 
were invited out to the big log kitchen, and there 
on a long table was spread the feast of all feasts. 
Boiled ham, barbecued shoat, sweet potatoes, 
coffee, pumpkin pies, ginger cakes, and cider; and 

50 



when the supper was over, the young folks Ht in 
to dancing. I didn't care for dancing myself, 
so I sat around and talked to the sober-minded 
folks. 

"It was an old saying, that day must never 
break on a corn shucking feast, or bad luck would 
fall on the next one. So before we broke up, the 
boys took Mr. Waters on their shoulders three 
times around the house, to the music of a good 
bye song. Just now I can't exactly remember 
how that went, but it was a pretty tune. 

"When we scattered out, each one going to 
his home, some up the road, down the road, and 
across the fields, the frosty night air rang with 
'Run, nigger run, patroler'l ketch you,' etc. 

"Of course I went to many other corn shucking 
frolics, but this one was the biggest I ever attended, 
not only this, but they had the best order I ever 
noticed. 

"Well I've told you about a corn shucking 
before the war, and the next time I come back 
I'll tell you of when the stars fell." 

"Tell me now," I said, "something may happen 
that you will not come again soon; its not late, 
and you will have time to tell part of it any 
way." 

He looked serious and said, "Well I was not 
to say sheered, but it was certainly a solemn 
51 



time! I was twenty-one years old when it hap- 
pened, and was sleeping up stairs in a cabin on 
Miss Nancy Carr's farm. A pitiful noise waked 
me, and I bounced up and run down, and the 
wood-pile in front of the cabin door was full of 
stars ! 

"I said, 'signs and wonders in the heavens" 

"Mr. Bob Bellamy, from Kentucky, was work- 
ing at Miss Nancy's, and he seemed to think it 
was funny, the way the colored people prayed 
and shouted, thinking judgment day was at hand. 
We could hear them praying at Mr. Riah Grant's 
home, as plain as if they were in our yard. 

"Brother Martin Grant was a colored preacher, 
and a mighty good man; he tried to reason with 
them, and told them they were in the hands of 
the Lord, and He would deal right with them. 

"The white folks did not seem to be much 
excited. The very religious ones prayed in secret, 
but they made no great noise ; the excitement was 
mostly among the colored people, and the ignorant 
white folks. 

"After daybreak, and it began to get light, the 
stars on the ground grew dim, and got dimmer, 
and dimmer, till the sun came up and they could 
not be seen at all. An old Colored man living 
down on the Clarksville road rejoiced when he 
saw the sun rise, and said, 'Thank God, I know 

52 



the world is all right now, for the sun is rising in 
the same place!' 

"1 think Brother Robin Northington (at that 
time a young man belonging to Mr. David North- 
ington) made more noise than any colored person 
in the neighborhood. In his young days he was 
inclined to be wild, and when he thought judgment 
day had found him unprepared, it was time to 
make a noise. 

"It always seemed strange to me that Brother 
Robin was so late coming into the church. He 
was eighty odd, when he joined Mount Zion 
last year." 

* * * * * * * 

The writer witnessed Uncle Robin's baptism 
in Sulphur Fork Creek, near Mount Zion Church; 
there were eighty candidates for baptism, and 
Uncle Horace had his son Altheus to perform 
the sacred rite. 

On account of Uncle Robin's advanced age, 
and a very remarkable experience he had related 
the day he joined the church, he seemed to be 
a central figure of the occasion, and all eyes were 
turned on him, as he stood trembling at the 
water's edge, pleading, "Now Brer Carr, be per- 
ticular, and dont you droun me!" 

"Be quiet Brother Northington," he said in his 

5^ 



characteristic dignified tone, "by the help of the 
Lord I will take you safely through; Brother 
Edwards and Brother Baldry are here to assist 
me and you need not fear." 

It was soon over, and his nervousness gave 
place to rejoicing. I don't think I ever heard 
sweeter singing than went up from hundreds of 
colored worshippers on the hillsides surrounding 
Mount Zion Church, that lovely Sabbath morning, 
October, 1875. 



U 



CHAPTER VII. 



ITS A GRAND THING TO MAKE SOMETHING OUT 
OF THE LIFE GOD HATH GIVEN US, BUT IT IS GRANDER 
STILL, TO REACH THE GREAT END OVER GREAT 
DIFFICULTIES." 



James William Carr, the twelfth, and next to 
the youngest child of Uncle Horace, and Aunt 
Kitty, attained distinction both as a lecturer and 
a minister. 

A Tennessean by birth, and a Georgian by 
Providence, he died in the midst of his usefulness 
at Savannah, Ga., August 25, 1907. 

In his youth, he professed religion and joined 
Mount Zion during his father's pastorate of the 
church. His early educational advantages were 
poor, but he was ambitious, and lost no opportun- 
ity for mental improvement. 

Rev. William Carr was tall, and bright colored, 
having his mother's refined features, and his 
father's good physique. 

A blend of both parents in looks, and Christian 
principles. 

55 



That he was appreciative, the following letter 
received by the writer, a short time before his 
death, will show: 

Savannah, Ga., May 13, 1907. 

"Mrs. /. F. Miller — Kind Friend: Today my 
thoughts go back to the scenes of my boyhood, 
away back in the 70's, when I worked for your 
father. How well do I remember the day he 
hired me, and carried me home behind him, on a 
big sorrel horse he called Charlie. 

"I had never lived with white people, and 
Mother Kitty did not think I would be satisfied, 
but I was, and stayed several months, going home 
every Saturday evening. 

"I date my start in life to the study table in 
your father's family room at night, around which 
I was not only permitted the use of books, but 
was also instructed in them. 

"One' day I ventured to ask you to set me some 
copies, in a rude copy book I had pinned together 
of foolscap paper. You asked if I wanted words, 
or sentences. I was embarrassed, for I did not 
know the difference, and you set both. 

"I feel profoundly grateful to you, and your 
family, for the interest manifested in the little 
yellow boy from near Horse Shoe Bend. 

"I have traveled from the Atlantic to the 
Pacific, and from Lake Michigan to the Gulf of 

56 




Rev. John William Carr, Savannah, Ga. 



Mexico, and I have been treated with respec* 
wherever I have gone. 

"I am at present pastor of the First African 
Baptist Church of Savannah. It was organized 
in 1788. The membership is 5,000, and the value 
of the church property, $100,000.00. This church 
has had only six pastors during its existence of 
119 years; I am its sixth. 

"The race riot in Atlanta a few months ago, 
has in no way changed my opinion of the South, 
as being the proper home of the negro. 

"I am glad you visited my mother, and took 
down in writing some interesting incidents of her 
life. 

"My parents were unlettered it is true, for 
their sphere was limited, but our Heavenly 
Father can be glorified in little things as well as 
great things. 

"It matters not how small the deed of kindness 
done, it is the motive that dignifies the action. 

"Providence permitting, I hope to visit Port 
Royal next fall, and meet once more in the flesh 
my friends and kindred there. If I come I will 
preach a sermon or two at Mount Zion. It is a 
dear old church to me, and the quiet spot near 
by, in which sleeps the dust of my father and 
two brothers, is dearer still. 

57 



"May God's richest blessings rest on your 
household, is the prayer of, 

Your obedient servant, 

J. W. Carr. 



In three months after the above letter was 
written, Rev. William Carr was stricken with 
fever and died. The news of his death was tele- 
graphed to his only surviving brother, Horace 
Carr, of District No. 1, Montgomery county, Tenn. 

Immediately following this, memorial services 
were held in several Middle Tennessee and South- 
ern Kentucky churches in which he had preached 
before making Savannah his home. 

Deceased was twice married. His second wife 
and several children survive him. 

Apropos of Rev. William Carr's reference to 
the First African Baptist Church at Savannah, 
I quote the following from an article in the In- 
fonrer, written by Wm. L. Craft (col.), Field 
Secretary of the National B. Y. P. U. Board, 
Nashville, Tennessee: 

"The colored Baptists of the United States 
have cause to feel proud of the results of their 
distinctive organic church work within the past 
120 years. 

And to the State of Georgia we owe it, to call 

58 



her the Mother State of negro organic church 
life. 

"It was in Savannah, January 20, 1788, that 
the first negro Baptist church was organized by 
Rev. Andrew Bryan, and numerous other slaves 
converted under his earnest preaching. 

"Rev. Bryan was converted under the preaching 
of Rev. George Leile, and baptized, 1783, in the 
Savannah River. At the close of the Civil War, 
1865, there were 400,000 negro Baptists in the 
United States. 

"Today they are estimated at 3,000,000, and 
well organized. The National Colored Baptist 
Convention was organized at Montgomery, Ala., 
in 1880, and shows 89 State Conventions; 559 
Associations; 18,214 churches; 17,217 ordained 
ministers; 15,625 Sunday Schools; 73,172 officers 
and teachers-; 788,016 pupils. 

"The officers of this National Convention are 
as follows: Rev. E. C. Morris, D. D., Helena, Ark., 
President; Prof. R. B. Hudson, A. M., Selma, 
Ala., Recording Secretary; Rev. A. J. Stokes, 
D. D., Montgomery, Ala., Treasurer; Rev. Robert 
Mitchell, A. M., D. D., Bowling Green, Ky., 
Auditor; Rev. S. W. Bacote, D. D., Statistician. 

"The work of this great body is conducted by 
National Boards, under the management of Cor- 
responding Secretaries. 

50 



"The denominational organ speaking for this 
Convention, is The National Baptist Union, pub- 
lished weekly at Nashville, Tenn. E. W. D. 
Isaac, D. D., is editor, and said to be one of the 
ablest in the United States." 

It was in a speech made on Georgia soil, that 
first gave Booker T. Washington the eye and ear 
of the Nation, when he said, "It is worth far 
more to the negro to have the privilege of making 
an honest dollar side by side with the white man, 
than it is to have the privilege of spending that 
dollar sitting by him in a theatre." It is this 
wholesome doctrine that has given him the right 
influence among right thinking people of both 
races. 

When Booker Washington left Hampton Insti- 
tute, Virginia, that great school for the practical 
training of the negro, he began his life work at a 
country cross roads, near Tuskegee, Alabama. It 
proved a good stopping place for that young and 
penniless, but cultured son of Hampton Institute. 

As an educator and civic builder, he is known 
and honored wherever the forces of Christian 
civilization recount their worthies, and crown 
their heroes. It is a remarkable record, that in 
all his utterances, on both sides of the sea, Booker 
Washington has never been known to say a 
foolish or intemperate thing. 
60 



speaking further of Georgia, it is asserted on 
good authority that the negroes of this State 
pay taxes on something over $18,000,000 worth 
of property. It is property at last, that is the 
test of civilized citizenship, especially in a land 
where good men may readilv attain it. 

With whiskey out of the reach of a race having 
a lamentable weakness for it. it is highly p)robable 
that these figures will be greatly increased within 
the next decade. The truth is gradually becom- 
ing known to the world, that the South is giving 
to the negro the only square deal a white race 
ever gave to one of another color, living among 
them under tiie same laws. 

Through the refining influence of the holy 
teachings of the Man of Galilee, the Southern 
white man is harmonizing with his "Brothers in 
Black." to a degree that he is spending three 
hundred million dollars in their education; not 
only this, but he is supplying them with wealth 
accunmlating work, and allowing them to enjoy 
the rights of peaceable citizenship. That they 
duly appreciate all this, is daily expressed in the 
right living of the best elenient of our colored 
population. 



61 



CHAPTER VIII. 



THE ONLY PERMANENT BASIS OF SPIRITTTAL 
LIFE IS THE BROTHERHOOD OF SOULS." 



In the preparation of this Httle book, it has 
been my earnest desire to secure my information 
from reliable sources, and so far, I think I have 
succeeded in doing so. 

After writing the preceding chapters, it occurred 
to me that I would like to read them to some 
member of the Carr family, before giving them 
to the public. So Rev. Luke Fort, of Guthrie, 
Ky., came to my home. May 13, 1911, and spent 
a good portion of the day. 

Rev. Fort, in antebellum times, belonged to 
Mr. Lawson Fort, He is sixty-four years of age, 
and the most of his useful life was spent on the 
Fort plantation. He was married during the 70 's 
to Annie, youngest daughter of Uncle Horace and 
Aunt Kitty Carr. 

Rev. Fort not only endorsed as correct what 
had already been written, but he gave me addi- 

62 



tional information that I consider both valuable 
and interesting. He spoke in part as fol- 
lows: 

"When I first heard that you wished to talk 
to nie of a family I loved so well, I was afraid I 
could be of but little assistance to you, but after 
hearing you read what had already lieen written 
mv nund was awakened, and the old scenes came 
back to me. 

"I was the son- m -law of these dear old people 
nineteen years, and twelve years of that time, 
(after Father Horace's death) Mother Kitty lived 
with me. 

"It was while I was a tenant on Mr. W. D. 
Fort's farm. After the day's work was done, we 
used to gather around the fireside in winter, or 
on the front porch in Summer, and listen to her 
talk. Everybody liked to hear her talk. But 
after she broke up housekeeping and had no 
cares, if possible, she seemed more interesthig 
than at any period of her life. My regret is, that 
I did not take more note of what she said. 

"Her theme was religion, for she was an every 
day Christian. Inuring her widowhood, she went 
to live awhile with her son, William, who was at 
that time living at Indianapolis Indiana, but- 
she was not satisfied, and soon returned to Ten- 
nessee. At her advanced age, she could not get 
63 



tised to the great difference between town and 
country life. " 

From Aunt Kitty we turned to Uncle Horace, 
and Rev. Fort continued: 

"Father Horace had his own peculiar style of 
preaching, and often his sermons would be made 
up entirely of some good religious experience he 
had especially enjoyed. 

"He was partial to the Gospel of John, and the 
best sermon I ever heard him preach was from 
the 15th chapter and 1st verse, 'I am the true 
vine, and my Father is the husbandman.' Feeling 
the infirmities of old age coming on, and knowing 
that Altheus had chosen the ministry, he often 
put him to the front in the pulpit, while he sat 
back, in his humble way, and directed the service. 
While sitting beneath the sound of his voice, in 
Scriptural language he doubtless thought to him- 
self, 'This is my son, in whom I am well pleased.' 
He seemed to be getting ready for Altheus to step 
into his shoes, and carry ori the good work he had 
begun. The foundation had been laid." 

Rev. Fort then paid fine tribute to the memories 
of his white people, Mr. Lawson Fort, and his 
pious v.'ife. To the latter he said he owed his 
first religious impressions. When a mere boy 
waiting about the house, she talked to him of 
salvation in a way that he understood, and he 

64 




Rev. Luke Fort, Guthrie, Ky. 



was led to tnist his Savior at an early as^e. And 
after he was a middle aged man, she often invited 
him to attend devotional exercises in the seclusion 
of her family room ; on one accasion she requested 
him to lead in prayer, which he did. 

Never having heard of the colored meetings 
held on the Fort plantation before the war, only 
in a general way, I asked Rev. Luke Fort if he 
remembered one, and he said he did, very dis- 
tinctly. It was during the middle 50 's when he 
was about seven years old. It was Saturday 
night, and the first time he ever hcvard Uncle 
Horace preach 

The service was held in what they called Aunt 
Margaret's house, a large, comfortable log room, 
with a shed at one end, and an upstairs. There 
were two doors in the main room, opposite each 
other, and facing east and west. Along between 
ten and eleven, o'clock the meeting reached its 
most enjoyable stage. The good old time songs 
were rr-aking their souls happy. Uncle Horace 
led the songs, and his face wore that placid look 
that seemed to speak that no wave of trouble 
would ever roll across his peaceful breast," when 
a rap was heard at the front door, and before 
they had time to think, in rushed a band of 
patrolers ! 

As they came in at the east door, the confused 
65 



congregation made hastv exit from the west door. 

The news was quickly conveyed to the kind 
old master, who sent his son, the late Sugg Fort, 
to the scene of excitement. Young Mr. Fort 
approached the patrolers in a very dignified 
manner; and informed them that his father had 
sent him to tell them that their services were not 
needed on his premises. It was before the countv 
line had been changed, Mr. Fort's residence was 
then in Montgomery county, instead of Robertson, 
its present location, and the patrolers were from 
Port Ro3^al. 

(For the benefit of a younger generation of 
readers, I will state that patrolers were organized 
bands of white men, appointed in each neighbor- 
hood, for the piu-pose of going about at night and 
keeping order among a doubtful element of colored 
people who left home without passes, or written 
permission from their owners. The unfortunate 
condition of affairs demanded it, and still more 
unfortunate was it, that the appointment, or 
office, too often fell into cruel and inhuman 
hands.) 

There lived at Port Royal, a fine looking colored 
man by the name of Dean Dancy, the property 
of the late John A. Dancy. It so happened that 
Dean was masquerading this particular Saturday 
night without a pass, and unhickily fell into the 



hands of the patrolers. Knowing they would 
deal roughly w4th him under such circumstances, 
he compromised the matter by telling them, if 
they'd let him off jtist this one time, he'd pilot 
them to a negro meeting, where they could find 
a housefull of people without passes, and this was 
why Uncle Horace's meeting was so disturbed. 

Monday morning Mr. Fort ordered his saddle 
horse brought out unusually early; he rode over 
to Port Ropal and informed Mr. Dancy of what 
his boy Dean had done, and the trickster had to 
make some pretty fair promises to escape punish- 
ment. 

On the same night that Dean Dancy led the 
patrolers to molest the quiet worshipers on Mr. 
Fort's plantation, an amusing scene was enacted 
in a dry goods store at Port Royal. It was during 
the late fall, and several of the village clerks had 
put up a notice that they would pay liberally 
for a fat, well cooked o'possum, delivered at 
Dancy and Kirby's store. Joe Gaines, a tall 
brown skinned man belonging to W. N. Gaines, 
gleaned the persimmon trees round about the 
Gaines premises, and failing to find an o'possum, 
conceived the idea of substituting a fat house-cat. 
After it was nicely cooked, he stepped out by the 
light of the moon, with his pass in his pocket, and 
hope in his heart of bringing back a silver dollar. 
67 



The clerks from the other business houses 
assembled at Dancy and Kirby's, where a spread 
was set for eight o possum eaters. Dr. J. T. 
Darden a young physician from Tumersville, 
had a short time before located at Port Royal, 
and was invited to the feast. When the dish 
containing the supposed delectable marsupial was 
uncovered, it was observed that the young physi- 
cian began to view it with a suspicious eye. He 
called Mr. T. M. Kirby to one side and told him 
the carcass was not that of an o 'possum and they 
must not eat it. Upon closer examination it was 
very plain that it was a cat. 

Without a word, Mr. Dancy walked to the front 
door and turned the key, locking them in ; a pistol 
was placed on the table, and Joe was informed 
that he must devour that cat, or suffer the aon- 
sequences. 

It required the effort of his life, but he choked 
it down. If Dean and Joe ever had good inten- 
tions, Satan certainly run rough shod over them 
all that Saturday night. 

******* 

Along with the progress of colored churches 
within the past four decades, that of orders, and 
societies is worthy of mention. 

Within a short distance of each other, they 
have, near Port Royal, both Odd Fellows and 
68 



Benevolent Society halls. Of the latter society 
I shall speak more in detail, from the fact that 
it is much older as an organization, in this com- 
munity, and has done so much for its membefs. 
It was organized, October, 1872, in a little log 
school room, on what was called Sugar Camp 
Branch, on Miss Ellen Yates' farm. 

Dennis Neblett, a good colored man of that 
vicinity, was the ])rime mover in the enterprise, 
and called to his assistance in its organization 
Granville Wilcox and Henry Roberts (col.), of 
Clarksville, Tenn. 

They organized with thirty charter members, 
and Dennis Neblett was elected President, which 
office he faithfully filled for thirty-seven years. 

This feeble but faithful little band met three 
years in Sugar Camp Branch school room, after 
which the house was moved farther down the 
creek, on Mr. Henry Rosson's farm. Being too 
remote from the majority of its members, they 
lost interest and failed to attend the meetings as 
they had formerly done, so the officers adopted 
the plan of meeting in the homes of the members, 
and occasionally at the churches. 

The change awakened renewed interest, and 
from that tim.e on, it gradually increased from, 
thirty members to something near one hundred 
and fiftv. Tts noble mission is to assist the 



disabled, nurse the sick, and bitry the dead. 

In the early 90 's they bought a lot on the prin- 
cipal street of Port Royal, on which they erected 
a very modest little hall They were fortunate 
in making this investment at that date, as the 
remainder of their treasury, $200.00 (two hundred) 
deposited in a Clarksville bank, was lost during 
the failure of several banks at that time in Clarks- 
ville. After meeting at Poit Roval lodge a num- 
ber of years, they decided to purchase a more 
suitable location. The old Carr home near Port 
Royal had been dismantled, and the land was 
bought bv Mr. Joshua Ford, a prosperous farmer 
of District No. 5, Montgomery county. Mr. Ford 
disposed of his purchase in lots, Jerry Fort (col.) 
being the first purchaser of five acres, on which 
he built a comfortable little home. 

Jerry and Harry Grant, as Trustees for the 
Benevolent Society, were appointed to purchase 
three acres of the same tract, adjoining his, for 
a burying groimd, and also a parade ground for 
the society. The purchase was made, but after- 
ward sold for residence lots, now owned and 
occupied by Jane Davis. Lecie Hollins and George 
Watson. 

A large tobacco bam on the opposite side of the 
road, fronting the Fort home, had been used for 
several years as a shelter for the society when the 

70 



members gave barbecues and other out-door 
festivities. This bam including one-quarter of 
an acre, was bought by the Trustees, the building 
sold to Sim Polk Tcol.) and moved to his farm 
on Parson's Creek, and a nice Hall, Benevolent 
Treasure No. 7, erected on the site, at a cost of 
something less than a thousand dollars. This 
building speaks well for its enterprising members, 
and is an ornament to the roadside. 

Added to the membership, is a juvenile branch 
of the order, consisting of about fifty polite bovs 
and girls, ranging from four to sixteen years of age. 

In its first organization, 1872, this society was 
known as Benevolent Society No. 3, but a few 
vears ago changed conditions made it necessary 
to reorganize, after which it was called Benevolent 
Treasure No. 7. Its present officers are as fol- 
lows : 

Sim Polk, President. 

John Person, Vice-President. 

George Watson, Recording Secretary. 

Waymond Polk, Assistant Secretary. 

Harry Grant, Treasurer. 

Willis Northington, Chaplain. 

Weight Watkins, Lizzie Dortch, Chairmen of 
Sick Committee. 

Demps Trabue, Chairman Executive Committee. 

The meetings are held semi-monthly. 
71 



CHAPTER IX. 



RECOLLECTION IS THP; ONLY PARADISE FROM 
WHICH WE CANNOT BE TURNED OUT." 

it 

To the aged, it is a delightful refuge. I found 
this especially true in the case of Aunt Gaines 
Williams, whom I visited May 10, 1911. 

She ^^as living with her youngest daughter, 
Mrs. Sarah Northington, on Esq. James H. Achey's 
farm. Not until I began, several years ago, to 
interview these faithful old colored representatives 
of antebellum times, did I know how their minds 
were stored with rich recollections. 

T was anxious to talk with Aunt Eliza, because 
she had been in touch with the Carr family all 
her life, and her daughter had been the wife of 
the late Rev. Altheus Carr. 

Aunt Eliza was born in 1828. as the property 
of Major James Norfleet, a prominent citizen of 
Robertson county, who owned large possessions 
on Sulphur Fork Creek; his homestead site being 
now owned by Greer Brothers, a mile or two 

72 




Aunt Eliza Gaines W44HfHns. Mother of five 
generations of her family. 



son; their oldest daughter, Margaret, married Gabe 
Washington, and their daughter, Amanda, has 
grand-children. While 1 was talking about my 
white folks. I forgot to tell you they were kin to 
the 'big folks,' the Bakers, the Dortch's, and 
Governor Blount. These three families lived out 
on Parson's Creek, and Major Baker gave the 
land on his place for that great camp ground, 
called Baker's Camp Ground. Lor, the good old 
times the people used to have at the Baker's 
camp meetings. You could hear them shouting 
for miles! The little church wasn't much larger 
than a family room, but they had tents all along 
the creek bottom near the big Baker spring, and 
held the meetings two or three weeks at a time. 
Brother Horace Carr enjoyed these camp meet- 
ings; I've heard him tell of some of the big ser- 
mons old Dr. Hanner, Dr. West, and others used 
to preach there, but somehow he was partial to 
Red River Church, above all the rest. It was 
through his influence that I, and a host of others 
joined Red River, and then when we were freed, 
and the Lord blessed us with a church of our 
own, we followed him to Mount Zion. 

"If everybody that Brother Horace influenced 
to be Christians here on earth are with him in 
heaven today, he has a glorious throng around 
him. I will never forget the last time I saw 

73 



southeast of Port Royal. At her birth, Major 
Norfleet gave her to his daughter Louisa, who 
named her for a favorite schoolmate, Mary Eliza 
Wheatley, but for short they always called her 
Eliza. Her mind seemed to d^^e\\ first, on her 
white people, of whom she spoke as follows: 

"Mv young Mistress, Miss Louisa Norfleet, 
married Mr. Abraham Gaines, Mr. Billie Gaines' 
father, and lived where Mr. Ed. Bourne now 
lives, in the village of Port Royal. When Mr. 
Billie Gaines was a few months old his mother 
went to Mr. Sam Northington's to spend a few 
days, and while she was there she ate something 
that disagreed with her, and died suddenly from 
congestion of the stomach. 

"I had a baby child nearly the same age of 
hers, and I nursed them both at my own breast. 
That has been sixty odd years ago, but I grieve 
for her till yet, for she was good to me. I'm 
trying to be ready to meet her. Mr. Billie Gaines 
does not forget me; he comes to see me, and sends 
me a present now and then, and so does Mr. 
Frazier Northington. 

"I was the mother of fourteen cliildren by my 
first husband, Wiley Gaines, and there is some- 
thing in mv family that very few people live to 
see, the fifth generation. My oldest daughter, 

Annie, married Henry Fort, Sister Margaret Fort's 
74 



him. I heard he was sick, and I went over and 
carried him a lunch basket of nice things to eat. 
The weather was warm, and he was able to bring 
his chair out and sit in his yard. He had dropsy 
and did not live very long after that. He talked 
of heaven most of the time; he would clap his 
hands and say: 

'I'm nearing my Father's house, 

Where many mansions be, 
Nearer the great white throne. 

My people are waiting for me.' 

"I used to go to Brother Horace's prayer meet- 
ings that he held aroimd at night in homes that 
permitted him, and one night he called on me to 
pray in public. I was confused, and did not say 
but a few words, but he told me that a few from 
the heart were worth ten thousand from the 
tongue. When I told him good bye, the last visit 
I made him, he held my hand a long time, and 
pointed toward heaven and said, 'In the name 
of our Lord, we must set up our banner. Set it 
high, and never look down.' " 

After the first talk with Aunt Eliza, I made a 
second visit, the same week, for the purpose of 
taking her picture, but after reaching her home 

75 



ajrain storm came on suddenly, and we could not 
get the sunlight necessary to picture making. She 
had peen advised by telephone that we would be 
there, and was nicely dressed for the occasion. 
Strange to say, she was eighty-two years old, and 
had never had a picture taken. 

We succeeded next day however, in securing 
a very good one. 

On my second visit to her she met me at the 
door in her characteristic pleasant manner and said : 

"I've been studying a heap about what you 
said and read to me the other evening when you 
were here, and I told my daughter that I believed 
the Lord had directed you to write this history 
of my people, and their early struggles. If some- 
body does not take it up, the old heads will all 
soon be gone, and there will be nobody left to tell 
the story." 

Among the older members of Mount Zion 
Church who have aided me materially in securing 
facts concerning its early history, I would mention 
Dan and Jerry Fort. While neither of them were 
charter members, they have been prominently 
identified with the church for many years. They 
have seen it rise from the little box house, with 
its seventy unlettered members of forty-three 
years ago, to a reasonably well educated mem- 
bership of something over three hundred. 
76 



Crude and humble as that first church building 
was, I have heard it said that Uncle Horace on 
preaching days would pause on the hillside before 
entering, and praise God for the privileges he 
enjoyed. It seemed that a new heart was in his 
bosom and a new song was on his lips. He loved 
the little house of worship as though it had been 
handed down to him as a present, direct from 
heaven. 

Uncle Horace was instrumental in organizing 
two other churches besides Mount Zion, Antioch, 
near Turners ville, in Robertson county, and 
Nevil's Chapel, near Rudolphtown, in Montgom- 
ery. Along with prominent mention of the great 
Christian leader of his people, I must not omit 
due tribute to some of his followers; principal 
among whom was Uncle John McGowan, a member 
of Mount Zion Church forty-two years, and all 
the time leading a life worthy of emulation. 

Uncle John was born on what was known as 
the George Wimberly place near Ross view, in 
Montgomery county, in 1822. He was the prop- 
erty of Miss Katherine Wimberly, who married 
Mr. Milton Bourne, brother of the late Mr. William 
Bourne, of Port Royal, Tenn. Mr. Milton Bourne 
owned and settled the present homestead site 
of Mr. John Gower, of Port Royal. After living 
happily there for a number of years, he became 
77 



financially embarrassed, and was forced to sell 
some of his most valuable slaves. Among them, 
in young manhood's prime, was Uncle John, who, 
in no spirit of bitterness, often referred to his 
sale as follows: "A large block, or box, was placed 
in the front yard for us to stand on, that the 
bidders might get a good look at us. The bid 
opened lively when I was put up, for I was con- 
sidered a pretty likely man, as the saying went. 
When the bidding went way up into several 
hundred dollars, I was knocked, ofif to Mr. Lawson 
Fort. I was glad of that, for I had lived near 
him and knew him to be a good man. I hadn't 
long settled my mind down on having a good 
home the balance of my life, when up comes 
somebody and told me Mr. Fort didn't buy me, 
he was -just bidding for Mr. Patrick McGowan. 
'My feathers fell,' as the saying is, for I didn't 
know how me and an Irishman I didn't know 
anything about were going to get along together. 
But it so happened that we got along fine; while 
his ways were a little different from what I had 
been used to with Mr. Bourne and the Wimberleys, 
I soon found him to be a man that would treat 
you right if you deserved it. He had his own 
curious way of farming, and no matter what price 
was paid for tobacco, he would not let a plant 
grow on his place. He had a very good little 

78 



farm joining the Royster place, and raised more 
potatoes than anybody in that whole country. 

"I have heard him tell often of letting Elder 
Reuben Ross, the great Baptist preacher that 
came to this country from North Carolina over 
a hundred years ago, live in a cabin in his yard 
till he could arrange to get a better home. Elder 
Ross had a large family, and Mr. McGowan took 
some of them in his own house. He was kind 
to strangers, and never turned the needy from 
his door. 

"I must tell you of a whipping I got while I 
belonged to Mr. Milton Bourne, that I did not 
deserve, and if I had the time to go over again, I 
would whip the negro who caused me to get it. 
There was a still house on Red River, not far 
from Mr. Sugg Fort's mill, it was long before Mr. 
Fort owned the mill; Mr. Joe Wimberly owned 
and operated the stillhouse. In that day and 
time, the best people of the land made whiskey; 
it was pure, honest whiskey, and did not make 
those who drank it do mean things, like the 
whiskey of today. Mr. Bourne had hired me to 
Mr. Wimberly to work in the still house, with a 
lot of other boys, about my age — along about 
nineteen and twenty years old. We were a 
lively set of youngsters, and laid a plan to steal 
a widow woman's chickens one night and 
79 



have a chicken fry. We took a solemn pledge 
just before we started, that we would never "tell 
on each other, if the old lady suspicioned us. 
Well we stole them, and one of the boys, Bob 
Herndon, who had been raised to help his mamm}^ 
about the kitchen, was a pretty good cook, and 
he fried them. I think it was the best fried 
chicken I ever put in my mouth. A day or two 
went by, the still house shut down, and they put 
me to work in the field. Corn was knee high, I 
was chopping out bushes in a field near the river, 
when I saw Mr. Wimberly's overseer come stepping 
down the turn row lii<e he was mad as a hornet. 
I knew him so well, I could tell when he was 
mad, as far as I could see him. My heart began 
to beat pretty fast, as he asked about the chickens. 
I told him I did not know a thing, about them, 
but when he began to tell things that really took 
place, I knew some one had given us away. He 
got out his rope and tied me to a hickory sapling, 
and said: 'Now John, I'm going to give you a 
little dressing off for this, Bob Herndon has let 
the cat out of the wallet; of course he is the 
biggest rascal of the gang.' Every now and then 
he'd stop, and ask me if I was ready to own up, 
but he soon found I was not, and turned me 
loose to chopping bushes out of the corn again. 
About twenty years after that, I met that same 

80 




I'ncle John McGowan, the great Broom Maker. 



overseer at the mill one rainy day; he was older, 
and I reckon his heart had softened, and we 
laughed and talked over that chicken fry, and 
what it cost me. It was the first and last dis- 
honorable scrape I ever got into." 

Uncle John was twice married, and the father 
of several highly respected sons, and daughters, 
several of whom still survive him. His second 
son by his first marriage, Rev. Burnett McGowan, 
is a Baptist minister of some prominence, and 
owns a nice little home near Adams, Tennessee. 
Uncle John was an expert broom maker, and 
during the last twenty years of his life he made 
a circuit of certain sections of Robertson and 
Montgomery counties about three times a year, 
delivering his brooms to his old customers, who 
would use no other make but "The John McGowan 
brand." They were honest brooms, and lasted 
twice as long as the factory made ones. He had 
a business way of distributing broom corn seed 
among his customers at planting time, and after 
the corn was harvested, he would follow the 
crops, and make up the brooms on the shares. 

He was so polite and pleasant that his friends, 
both white and colored, made him welcome in 
their homes free of charge, a week or ten days at 
a time during the broom making season. He was 
a fine judge of human nature, and often discussed 
81 



in a very original manner the characteristics of 
the famiHes with whom he stayed. After a short 
illness from the infirmities of old age, he died at 
the home of his son, Rev. Burnett McGowan, 
August, 1910. He was laid to rest at the old 
E. L. Fort homestead, with impressive ceremonies 
by Benevolent Treasure Lodge No. 7, of which 
he had long been an honored member. 



82 



CHAPTER X. 



"to live in hearts we leave behind, is not 

TO die." 



Before pronouncing the benediction in this 
pleasant meeting with old familiar faces, I must 
not fail to say more of the kind old master who 
was as respectful to his dusky body servant as 
to his proudest peer, and who could penetrate 
color, poverty, and untutored speech, and find 
where a true heart lodged. Eppa Lawson Fort 
was bom at "Riverside," a picturesque homestead 
on Red River, three miles southeast of Port Royal, 
Tennessee, August, 1802. He was the son of a 
prominent Baptist minister, and a church goer, 
but strange to say, during a pilgrimage of nearly 
ninety years, never joined a church. He believed 
implicitly in God's mercy, and when approached 
by friends, on the subject of religion, he would 
assure them that the Lord would manifest Himself 
to him in a way that he would understand, when 
He was ready for him to enter the Christian fold. 

83 



Mr. Fort was twice married, the first time to 
Miss Virginia Metcalfe, of Robertson county, and 
the second to Miss EHzabeth Dancy, of Florence, 
Alabama. Three sons blessed his first marriage, 
and a son and daughter his last, all of whom are 
dead. For the benefit of those oi my readers 
who knew Mr. Fort and his last wife, I give below 
a brief sketch of family history : 

The Forts, Dancys and Wimberlys were related, 
and came from North Carolina to Tennessee at 
an early date. The first Fort family settled on 
Sulphur Fork Creek, near Beech Valley Mill, at 
a place now owned by Mr. Plummer Poole. The 
Wimberlys went nearer Clarksville, on Red River, 
and their first homestead is now occupied by their 
descendants, Messrs. Joe and Alf Killebrew, of 
Rossview neighborhood. Esq. William E. Dancy 
located near Dunbar's Cave, but later moved to 
Florence, Alabama, carrying with him a number 
of valuable slaves, and a family consisting of his 
wife and three small children, Caroline, Elizabeth 
and John. It was before the day of railroads, and 
all the visiting between the Tennessee and Alabama 
relatives was done on horseback, covering a 
period of several days' journey. During the 30 's 
little Caroline and Elizabeth had grown to young 
ladyhood and accompanied by a younger brother, 
they came to visit the Wimberlys. They found 

84 



Mr. Fort a gay yoiing widower, and he found 
Miss Elizabeth Dancy a charming young lady. 
A few months prior to this, he had paid his 
addresses to a popular young lady of Port Royal, 
and they were engaged, but by dint of accident 
he learned from a reliable source that she had 
said publicly that she did not intend to be bothered 
with his three little boys, so he frankly informed 
her that his children were first, and released her. 
After spending several weeks in Tennessee, as 
the time had come for the Dancy girls to rettirn 
to Alabama, Mr. Fort asked the privilege of 
escorting them, by saying he had not seen "Cousin 
Nancy," their mother, in a long time, and that 
she was his favorite relative. The old folks saw 
clearly through it all, and were pleased, and after 
a two weeks' visit Mr. Fort returned home, with 
the prospect of being their son-in-law some time 
during the coming year. 

h. The three sweet little motherless boys, Jack, 
Ilai and Sugg, in the meantime were being ten- 
derly cared for by their mother's relatives. A 
year sped quickly by; a black broadcloth wedding 
suit was packed in a pair of leather saddle bags, 
and mounted on a handsome dajjpled gray horse, 
Mr. Fort set his face southward, with bright 
anticipations. A letter had preceded him, telling 
them what day to expect him; it was before the 

85 



time of sewing machines, and the bridesmaids, 
Hannah and Lute Barton, had been in the Dancy 
home several days making the wedding dresses; 
they and the bride were to be dressed aUke, in 
white mushn, flounced to the waist, and flounces 
bound with white satin ribbon. Esq. Dancy 
Hved on what was known as "The Mihtary Road," 
cut out by Andrew Jackson during the Creek 
War, and horsemen could be seen a long way ofl. 

Toward sunset a member of the family looked 
up the road and exclaimed, "Yonder comes the 
Tennessee widower!" and they all ran out to meet 
him. He set his saddle bags in the hall, and 
incidentally mentioned their contents, whereupon 
the bride elect took out the broadcloth suit and 
neatly folded it away in a bureau drawer in her 
room. In those days there were no trunks, but 
few spare rooms, and no foolish conventionalities. 
Along with the clothes was a fine pair of No. 5 
pump sole shoes, to be worn on the wedding 
occasion. Mr. Fort had a small, shapely foot, 
and it was said the young ladies in the Dancy 
home, assisting the bride in her preparation for 
the wedding, would go every now and then and 
peep admiringly at those dainty pumps in the 
bureau drawer. 

Mr. Dancy made his daughter a bridal present 
of a nice black saddle horse, called "Indian," and 

86 



when they turned their faces toward Tennessee, 
mounted on this black and white steeds, it must 
have been an interesting picture. Seventy odd 
years ago, think of the changes! 

For her travehng suit, the bride wore a purple 
marino riding habit, made with long pointed 
tight waist, with hooks and eyes beneath the 
waist line imderneath, by which it could be 
temporarily shortened and converted into a walk- 
ing suit, thereby saving her the trouble of dressing 
when they took lodging at the wayside inns or 
taverns, as they were called. (It will be remem- 
bered that a bridal wardrobe folded in saddle 
pockets afforded but few dresses for change.) A 
shaker straw bonnet, with a green berege frill, or 
skirt, completed her outfit. 

The headpiece of these Shaker bonnets, or 
"scoops," as they were called, were shaped some- 
thing like the cover of an emigrant's wagon, and 
were anything but pleasant to wear in warm 
weather. 

On reaching the Tennessee River, Mr. Fort's 
fine gray horse grew stubborn, and refused to 
step into the large ferry boat, and had to be 
blindfolded. The trip was a long and tiresome 
one, and the bride was laid up for repairs over a 
week; the scorching July sun had dealt roughly 
with her delicate complexion, and before she was 
87 



aware of it, the back of her neck was deeply 
bhstered from the sun shining through the thin 
berege skirt of her Shaker bonnet. 

The faithful servants did all in their power to 
make her feel at home; then and there an ideal 
home life began, and Mr. Fort was a prime factor 
in making it so. 

The following amusing story was often told of 
him: He had a nice herd of dairy cows, and 
among them was one they called "Stately," the 
bell cow. Aunt Margaret was the milk maid, 
and she always carried along with her to the cow 
pen her ten-year-old son, Nelson, "to keep the 
calves off," as they termed it. One summer 
evening about sunset, the family were seated on 
the front gallery, Mr. Fort, his wife, and their 
youngest son, the late W. D. Fort. They were 
quietly discussing the expected arrival next day 
of some favorite relatives from Paris, Texas, Dr. 
Joe Fort's family. 

Suddenly Nelson appeared on the scene, and 
in breathless excitement exclaimed, "Mars Law- 
son, old Stately poked her head in a wagon wheel 
up at the lot, and she can't get it out, and mammy 
says what must she do about it?" 

Mr. Fort sprang to his feet, and on the impulse 
of the moment said, "Tell one of the men up at 
the lot feeding, to get an axe and cut her fool 




Revs. F. C. Plaster, and W. S. Adams, who assisted 

in Rev. Horace Carr's ordination at Old Red 

River Church, before the Civil War. 



head off, quick!" It was too good to keep, and 
his son treasured it as a household joke, which 
he enjoyed telhng on his kind old father, along 
with many others equally as amusing. 

But the happy old Riverside home was to 
undergo changes. After a few days illness, from 
the infirmities of old age, Mr. Fort quietly fell 
asleep, July 12, 1891. His remains were laid to 
rest with Masonic honors at the old Metcalfe 
burying ground on Elk Fork Creek, near Sadlers- 
ville, Tenn. 

His family feasted on his affections, and his 
friends enjoyed the wealth of his noble nature. 

:}: s}! * * H: Hs * 

Since the lives of most of the good people 
mentioned in this little story centered around 
Port Royal, I deem it not amiss to tell something 
of this historic spot. 

Nearly four generations have passed since this 
village, which tradition tells us, lacked only one 
vote of being the Capitol of the State, was settled. 
In 1789, Samuel Wilcox, of Port Royal, South 
Carolina, came with his small family and settled 
near a large spring, on the left bank of Red 
River, at the foot of a ridge called "The Devil's 
Backbone." The exact location may be better 
known today by pointing the reader to a slight 
elevation on the far side of W. N. Gaines' bottom 



eld, lying between his "Hill Top" home and 
Sulphur Fork Creek, nearly opposite the old 
Weatheriord mill site. 

Located as he was, between Red River on the 
one side and Sulphur Fork Creek on the other, 
he soon realized his mistake, for during the high 
water season a vast area of this level tract, inchid- 
ing his home, was subject to overflow. 

So he crossed over Sulphur Fork Creek a few 
hundred yards northwest, to a picturesque point 
where the creek empties into Red River, and built 
a primitive residence, and a blacksmith shop, and 
called the place Port Royal, in honor of his native 
town in South Carolina. Mr. Wilcox later on 
entered about\ one thousand acres of land three 
or four miles from Port Royal, on the Graysville 
road leading to Kentucky. A portion of his 
original purchase is now owned by Mr. Polk 
Prince, of District No. 1, Montgomery county. 

This was the first permanent settlement made 
at Port Royal. But fourteen years earlier, 1775, 
the historian tells us of tragic scenes enacted 
thereabouts, as follows: 

"A famous hunter by the name of Manscoe, 
and three companions, camped a few weeks near 
where Sulphur Fork Creek empties into Red 
River, and here Manscoe had an adventure with 
some Indians. Having discovered from their 
90 



trail, that a hunting party ©f some sort was in 
the vicinity, he went alone to ascertain if possible 
who they were. 

"On the bank of the river, he saw a camp|fire, 
and creeping as close as he dared, he saw two 
Indians, whom he recognized as belonging to the 
Black Feet tribe. Manscoe was about to retire 
to carry the news to his companions, when one 
of the Indians arose and came directly toward 
him. Manscoe fired, and the Indian wheeled and 
ran about fifty yards past his own camp fire and 
fell dead over the bluff into the river. The other 
Indian made quick time away from the fatal 
spot, not knowing, it was supposed, how many 
whites were in the attacking party. Manscoe not 
knowing the number of savages, beat a hasty 
retreat also. Joining his comrades, he returned 
in a few hours, accompanied by them, to find the 
fugitive Indian had, in the meantime, been to his 
camp, packed his scant belongings on his pony, 
and left for parts unknown. They followed close 
on his trail, the remainder of the day, but never 
found him. 

"Knowing that the Indians would soon return 
in full force to avenge the death of their comrade, 
Manscoe and his party left the country within 
the next few hours, but terribly was the death 
of this Indian afterwards avenged. In 1794, ten 

91 



3^ears after Clarksville, Tenn., had been incor- 
porated and named, Col. Isaac Titsworth, and 
his brother John, with their famihes, moved from 
North Carohna to the Cumberland country. They 
intended locating on Red River, and on the night 
of Octol')er 24, 1794, camped at the mouth of 
Sulphur Fork Creek, near where the Indian had 
been shot by Manscoe. That night a party of 
fifty Creek Indians stole upon them, taking them 
completely by surprise. Seven of the party, 
including Col. Titsworth and his brother, and 
their wives were killed and scalped. A negro 
woman was badly wounded, but crawled off in 
the woods and escaped. The Indians carried off 
six prisoners, a negro man, a white man, a grown 
daughter of Col. Titsworth, and three little 
children. Great excitement reigned, and in a 
few hours a party of white men was organized 
and on their trail. The Indians discovering'their 
approach, tomahawked the children and scalped 
them, taking off the whole skins of their heads. 
The white man and the negro, they either killed 
or carried off with their daughter; none of the 
three were ever heard from." 

As far back as 1807, the citizenship of Port 
Ro}'al received favorable comment, as the follow- 
ing from "The Life and Times of Elder Reuben 
Ross," will show:. 

.92 



"Although not a great deal could be said in 
praise of the small village of Port Royal, in itself, 
near which we are now living, it would be safe to 
say, no finer citizenship could have been found 
anywhere at this time than in the country around 
it, extending into Robertson and Montgomery 
counties. In evidence of this, one need only to 
mention such names as Fort, Norfleet, North- 
ington, Dortch, Baker, Cheatham, Washington, 
Bryant, Turner, Blount (Gov. Willie Blount), 
Johnson, and others. They were generally men 
of large stature, dignified and patriarchal in their 
bearing, many of them wealthy, very hospitable, 
and always ready to assist those who needed 
assistance, especially strangers who came to settle 
among them." 

While the lordly old masters have drifted away 
with the "days that are dust," the posterity of a 
fine antebellum citizenship ligners yet with us to 
bless and beautify the hills and vales of dear old 
Port Royal. 



93 



CHAPTER XL 



THERE IS NO DEATH, WHAT SEEMS SO, IS TRAN- 
SITION. THIS LIFE OF MORTAL BREATH, IS BUT 
A SUBURB OF THE LIFE ELYSIAN, WHOSE PORTAL 
WE CALL DEATH. 



Of the four most prominent members of the 
Carr family, mentioned in the foregoing chapters, 
it is a fact worthy of note that each passed from 
earth from as many different States. Uncle 
Horace, the first to go, died near Port Royal, at 
his humble home on the Weatherford farm, 
September, 1877. 

Rev. Altheus Carr died, after a short illness 
from fever, at Topeka, Kansas, October, LSSG. 
He had been called to Kansas to assist in a revival, 
and fell, as it were, at the foot of an unfinished 
work. His remains vvere brought back to Ten- 
nessee, and laid to rest at Mount Zion, beside 
those of his father. The burial of no colored 
citizen in this section was ever so largely attended 
or greater demonstration of deep sorrow over the 
94 



passing of a Christian leader, whose place in many 
respects has never been filled. His funeral ora- 
tions were delivered by Revs. Houston Metcalfe, 
of Clarksville, Tenn., and P. Barker, of Guthrie, 
Ky. The latter afterward went as a missionary 
to Africa. 

Aunt Kitty, after a short illness from pneu- 
monia, died October, 1904, at the home of her 
daughter-in-law, Mrs. Margaret Manier, of Guthrie, 
Kentucky. 

As before stated, Rev. William Carr died at 
Savannah, Georgia, August, 1907. 

Geographically speaking, their bodies, at disso- 
lution were widely sundered, but their kindred 
spirits mingled in sweet communion around the 
same Great White Throne. 

Of a family of thirteen children, only two are 
living, Horace Carr, a good citizen of District 
No. 1, Montgomery county, Tenn., and his older 
sister, Mrs. Mary Waters, of Ohio. 

The remainder of this chapter will be devoted 
to the Carneys, a family of colored citizens whose 
deeds should not be forgotten by those who 
properly appreciate the loyalty of high class ante- 
bellum negroes. 

I Vv'ill first speak briefly of the kind old master. 
Captain C. N. Carney was born in Halifax county, 
North Carolina, August 15th, 1782, and came to 
95 



Tennessee in 1808. He was married March 11th, 
1824, to Elizabeth Johnson, of Fortson's Spring 
neighborhood. District No. 1, Montgomery county. 
There were no children by his first marriage. He 
was married the second time, 1848, to Miss Mar- 
garet C. Lynn, of east Montgomery county. 
Three sons blessed this union, viz: Richard Rod- 
ney, Thomas, and Norfleet Lynn. The first and 
last named still survive, and like their father, 
rank among the best citizens of the State. To 
them the writer is indebted for valuable local 
history gleaned by them from the early settlers 
of this country, with whom, by ties of blood, they 
were intimately associated. 

The Northingtons, Johnsons, Neblets, etc. 

Captain Carney descended from the old Revo- 
lutionary stock, being the grandson of General 
Richard Rodney. The latter 's sword is a cher- 
ished heirloom in the family, being owned by his 
namesake, R. R. Carney, of Port Royal, Tenn., 
who placed it for safe keeping with his brother, 
Dr. N. L. Carney, of Clarksville, Tenn. 

Captain Carney owned a large number of 
valuable slaves, and a nice plantation on Parson's 
Creek, in District No. 5, Montgomery county. 
He was kind to his negroes, and they in turn were 
of a high order of principle, that responded to 
kind treatment. After a short illness from senile 

96 




Hall of Benevolent Treasure No. 7, near 
Port Royal, Tennessee. 



infirmities, Captain Carney died January, 1862, 
leaving his widow and two little boys at the old 
homestead, unprotected, save by these faithful 
family servants. Throughout the excitement inci- 
dent to the Civil War, they stood true to the 
post of duty, as the following incident will show. 
Uncle Isaac Carney, the colored blacksmith on 
the premises, worked for the surrounding country 
and people of every type came to his shop. One 
day a man rode up to the door on a fine young 
horse, that was tender footed and jaded, almost 
to the point of falling in its tracks. The rider 
dismounted and ordered it shod as quickly as 
possible. After it was done he drew from his 
purse a $20.00 greenback bill to settle. Not 
keeping that amount of maney at the shop in war 
times, the bill could not be changed, and the 
stranger persisted in going to the house for it. 
Knowing a timid woman would be frightened by 
the appearance of such a looking stranger, Uncle 
Isaac accompanied him, with his hammer in his 
hand. They changed the money, and on their 
return to the shop they were surprised to find 
Captain Zachary Grant, Mr. S. H. Northington, 
and Mr. C. Daniel waiting to arrest the guerilla 
horse thief, who had stolen the fine horse from 
a gentleman of Elkton, Ky. He was never again 
seen, or heard from in this section, and it was 
97 



supposed they made a proper disposition of him. 

Uncle Isaac was born in North Carohna, Feb- 
ruary 16, 1804, and had a vivid recollection of 
things that took place soon after coming to 
Tennessee in 180S. During the war, when South- 
ern homes were looted of valuables, Mrs. Carney 
entrusted her silverware and all moneys not 
needed by her, often as much as a thousand 
dollars, to Uncle Isaac, who dug a hole under his 
cabin floor and deposited same, which he guarded 
with vigilant care. 

When it seemed necessary for Confederate 
recruiting officers to remain clandestinely in this 
section, for weeks at a time, Uncle Isaac often 
shod their horses, but in no instance was he ever 
known to betray one. He told of one occasion 
in which he felt some uneasiness. Late one 
evening, he was going by way of Sugar Camp 
branch to Bennett's distillery for a jug of whiskey 
when he heard threatning voices from a thick 
undergrowth near the roadside. A new set of 
recruiting officers had recently come in, and it 
happened to be one of these, who first saw him, 
and thinking he might give out information dan- 
gerous to them, they were about to sieze him, 
when one of the older ones, who knew him, came 
to his rescue, and told them to let him pass on, 
that he was all right. 

98 



Another of Captain Carney's valuable servants 
was Peter, whom he brought fom Mr. Richard 
Brown, of McAdoo. Peter was a Presbyterian 
preacher, of stout build, and ginger cake color. 
He was a man of very nice manners, and waited 
on Captain Carney, when he officiated at the 
musters and military parades. Aunt Sylvia was 
his wife. They raised a large family of children, 
only one of whom, Frank Carney, of Port Royal, 
survives. 

On account of certain good qualities, Peter was 
allowed extra privileges over the average colored 
citizen of his day. He had what was termed a 
"general pass," permitting him to go where and 
when he pleased, unmolested by patrolers. He 
owned his own horse, and kept a shot gun. He 
did the neighborhood marketing, making frequent 
trips to Clarksville, carrying the produce on his 
horse, there being but few vehicles in existence. 
When in Clarksville, he often stopped at Hon. 
Cave Johnsons, a warm personal friend of his 
master's, or with Col. George Smith, proprietor 
of the old National Hotel, below where the 
Franklin House now stands. The last trip he 
ever made to Clarksville, he drove the carriage 
for Mrs. Carney, and Mrs. Dr. N. L. Northington. 

Apropos of colored ministers, Mrs. George F. 
Adams, one of the best Christian women that 

99 



ever blessed any community, once remarked to 
the writer, that she had never witnessed a more 
impressive antebellum picture, than that of three 
devout colored divines, all of different denomina- 
tions, seated side by side one night at old Baker's 
camp meeting, listening to a soul-stirring sermon 
from Dr. Jno. W. Hanner, Sr. Rev. Horace Carr, 
Baptest; Rev. Martin Grant, Methodist, and Rev. 
Peter Carney, Cumberland Presbyterian. They 
cared little for creeds, and in their humble way 
preached Christ, and Him crucified. 

The last record made by Captain C. N. Carney 
of the birth of his family servants, was that of 
Aleck, a valuable, bright colored man, born March 
30th, 1840. When the Civil War broke out, Aleck 
was just twenty-one, and a man of fine appearance. 
In 1863, he and a fellow servant, Caesar Carney, 
were pressed into service to work on a Federal 
fort at New Providence, Tenn. They were retain- 
ed three months. While employed at work raising 
a steamboat sunk by the Confederates in Harpeth 
River, Ca:sar ran away and came home, and 
through the influence of good friends in Clarks- 
ville, who knew Col. Bruce, the Federal officer 
in command, Mrs. Carney secured the release of 
Aleck, who gladly returned home and took up 
his work with Uncle Isaac in the blacksmith 
shop. Aleck is still in the land of the living; he 

100 



owns a comfortable little home on the Port Royal 
road leading to Clarksville, from which, by the 
assistance of his son, he conducts a successful 
blacksmith trade, and strange to say, in his shop 
may be seen many of the tools he bought at the 
Carney sale, some of which have been in use over 
a century. 

Among the Carney colored people, none ranked 
above Betsy, Aleck's sister, a fine looking yellow 
woman, who married Dennis Neblett, previously 
mentioned. No kinder heart ever beat in human 
breast than that of Betsy Carney-Neblett. She 
was a fine nurse, and would lay aside her home 
work any day to minister to the afflicted of her 
neighborhood, and when asked her charges for 
same, would say, "I make no charges for Christian 
duty." 

There was an air of dignified independence in 
her make up, that attracted even the casual 
observer. For instance, she would go to church 
dressed in a neat plaid cotton dress, a large house- 
keeper's apron, and plain sailor hat, and feel as 
comfortable as if clad in the finest fabrics. As- 
sisted by her economy, and thrift, her worthy 
husband was enabled to buy a small farm, a 
portion of the Carney estate, on Parson's Creek, 
known as the Carney Quarter. 

When there was all-day meeting and dinner 

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on the ground at Grant's Chapel, Betsy and Dennis 
often went along to take charge of the dinner 
for some special friends, as Miss Ellen Yates, 
Mrs. Dr. Northington, or some of the Grants. 
On communion days, when Rev. J. W. CuUom 
was pastor in charge, he never failed to go to the 
church door and extend an invitation to the 
colored people outside to go in and partake of the 
Lord's Supper, and it was not uncommon to see 
Betsy and Dennis walk reverently down the aisle 
and kneel around the chancel. After a long and 
useful life, she passed away, ten or fifteen years 
ago, and her body was laid to rest on the hillside 
near the scene of her birth. 

Henry W. Grady, the South 's greatest orator 
and statesman, in a speech at Boston, Mass., a 
few years before his death, gave a battlefield expe- 
rience that was eloquently pathetic. He said: 

"In sad memory I see a young Confederate 
soldier struck by a fatal bullet, stagger and fall, 
and I see a black and shambling figure make his 
way through a throng of soldiers, wind his loving 
arms about him, and bear him from the field of 
carnage, and from the pale lips of that dying 
friend, I hear a feeble voice bidding me to follow 
that black hero and protect him, if he ever needed 
protection, and I was true to my promise." 

We who love Southern soil, and cherish Southern 

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tradition, should pause now and then and pay 
due tribute not only to the worthy living, but 
to the faithful colored dead "who sleep out under 
the stars!" 



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UNIVERSITY OF N C AT CHAPEL HILL 
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